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Oct 19, 2020 Membership Update

Letter to Members - Oct 7, 2020

July 20,2020 Membership Message

Membership Message


July 20, 2020

Fellow Instructors,

The July 15th deadline has passed and some 20 plus Instructors have risen to the occasion and voluntary agreed to help The Company by either accepting the Voluntary Separation Program, VSP, or Extended Time Off, EXTO. Your dedication to the heritage and future of Southwest Airlines is commendable. Weighing family and personal needs against a career is no easy matter. Even leaving fellow employees and a satisfying profession takes courage. Those of you that elected to not volunteer to take VSP or EXTO also made equally difficult decisions after weighing the choices. Regardless, Southwest Flight Crew Training Instructors rose to the occasion.

It is our understanding, that The Company will announce final Instructor numbers and dates for departure later this month. Since TWU 557 Leadership had no input, questions should be directed to Flight Operations Training Leadership.

It is also important to note, that the Southwest Flight Crew Training Instructors, total payroll wise, only represent less than one half of 1% (.0039%) of the total yearly payroll for all contract employees at Southwest Airlines. Nevertheless, the 20+ Instructors who elected to help The Company are doing their part for our group and to help Southwest Airlines conserve cash.

TWU 557 Leadership also stands by to further assist The Company going forward. Just prior to the VSP and ETO programs, TWU 557 offered a Temporary Part Time Program through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outside of current mediated contract negotiations that would conserve payroll dollars. TWU 557’s modeling indicated a dollar savings similar to the EXTO program, with the added advantage of maintaining Instructor proficiency and currency.

We are now 200 plus days into Mediation for our current Contract. While some progress has been made in Contract Articles where we can agree upon on language, other Articles still remain unresolved. We still anticipate Mediated contract talks until there is some clarity for our Airline’s business model related to COVID-19.

Again, thanks for doing your part!

For the Board,


Gerald H. Bradley

President TWU 557

Southwest Flight Crew Training Instructors

Gary Kelly and Julie Weber Warn of Furlough and Cuts!

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly says furloughs and layoffs are still a possibility for the Dallas-based carrier unless it can triple its number of passengers by the end of 2020.
Kelly has urged employees to consider early retirement and long-term leave programs designed to shrink the company’s workforce during the upcoming months when federal stimulus money runs out but air traffic numbers are still expected to be down significantly.
“Although furloughs and layoffs remain our very last resort, we can’t rule them out as a possibility, obviously, in this very bad environment,” Kelly said. “We need a significant recovery by the end of this year—and that’s roughly triple the number of passengers from where we are today.”
Kelly shared the message last week in a podcast to employees. It also was posted on an internal blog.
Southwest has just over 62,000 employees nationwide, including about 10,000 in Dallas, where it has its corporate headquarters. Last month, the company unrolled a proposal for “the most generous buyout package in our history” and employees have until Wednesday to take the deal.
Other airlines, including Fort Worth-based American, are similarly urging employees to take a leave or buyout. American’s leaders have been telling employees that if the company doesn’t get enough volunteers for leave or buyouts, it will likely have to resort to involuntary layoffs.
Kelly’s comments come as the carrier tries to climb out of the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but is still taking cost-cutting measures and limiting capacity on plans to bring customers back. Southwest said it will only sell two-thirds of plane seats through September.
“So I won’t belabor the points again today, other than to say we are still overstaffed, and COVID cases continue to rise,” Kelly said. “And, as you know, that directly impacts our business.”
Kelly has said he expects business to be down about 30% in the fall and that the company will likely need to reduce its staffing by a similar percentage.
The number of travelers has increased in the last three months after bottoming out in early April, but there are concerns with the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Still, only about a quarter of the number of passengers who boarded planes a year ago are getting on them now, according to Transporation Security Administration figures.
“The state of the pandemic has worsened since the partial reopening of the country,” Kelly said. “The recent rise in COVID cases and increasing regional restrictions on businesses and states requiring quarantine aren’t positive developments for our business, and we are concerned about the impact on already weak travel demand.”
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut enacted quarantine restrictions on travelers from states with high COVID-19 rates, including Texas. Hawaii also has travel restrictions for outside travelers.
Last week, Southwest said more than 8,392 employees had opted for buyouts or “emergency time off” for later this year, roughly 14% of the company.
“Each day, we spend more cash to run the operation than we are taking in from customer bookings, which is unsustainable despite our current cash reserves,” said a memo to employees from vice president and chief people officer Julie Weber. “We are overstaffed for current levels of customer demand and for the foreseeable future, and the payroll support program proceeds expire at the end of September.”
Weber said in her memo that if Southwest is forced to take involuntary steps, it would most likely “begin with evaluating cuts in benefits and pay.”
If it has to furlough workers or cut jobs, she said, it would provide at least 60 days notice.

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Around The Web

FAA News

22 October 2020

Latest FAA News and Updates, Press Releases, Fact Sheets, Speeches, and Testimony
  • News and Updates - FAA Air Traffic Report
    22 October 2020

    Today's Air Traffic Report:

    Low clouds are forecast from Boston (BOS) to the Washington, D.C. area (BWI, DCA, IAD) and in Detroit (DTW), Houston (HOU, IAH), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Diego (SAN). Thunderstorms could delay flights in Chicago (MDW, ORD). Smoke from wildfires continues to reduce visibility in Denver (DEN).

    Pilots: Check out the new Graphical Forecasts for Aviation (GFA) Tool from the Aviation Weather Center.

    For up-to-the-minute air traffic operations information, visit fly.faa.gov, and follow @FAANews on Twitter for the latest news and Air Traffic Alerts.

    The FAA Air Traffic Report provides a reasonable expectation of any daily impactsto normal air traffic operations, i.e. arrival/departure delays, ground stoppages, airport closures. This information is for air traffic operations planning purposes and is reliable as weather forecasts and other factors beyond our ability to control.

    Always check with your air carrier for flight-specific delay information.

  • News and Updates - U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces Historic Commercial Space Transportation Reforms
    15 October 2020

    New rule modernizes the way FAA regulates and licenses commercial space operations.

  • News and Updates - FAA Updates on Boeing 737 MAX
    06 October 2020


    The FAA posted the draft Flight Standardization Board (FSB) report on the proposed pilot training for the Boeing 737 MAX this afternoon.It can be found here under FSBR B737.

    The report incorporates the recommendations from the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) which recently met for nine days. The JOEB was comprised of civil aviation authorities from the United States, Canada, Brazil, and the European Union.

    The comment period on the draft FSB report will last through November 2, 2020. The FAA will publish a final FSB report after reviewing and addressing public comments on the draft FSB Report.

    While this is an important step, several key milestones remain:

    • Final Design Documentation and Technical Advisory Board (TAB) Report The FAA will review Boeings final design documentation to evaluate compliance with all FAA regulations. The multi-agency TAB will also review the final Boeing submission and issue a final report prior to a final determination of compliance by the FAA.
    • Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) & AD The FAA will issue a CANIC providing notice of pending significant safety actions and will publish a final AD that addresses the known issues for grounding. The AD will advise operators of required corrective actions before aircraft may re-enter commercial service.
    • FAA Rescinds Grounding Order This marks the official ungrounding of the aircraft, pending completion by operators of the work specified in the AD, along with any required training.
    • Certificates of Airworthiness The FAA will retain its authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates for all new 737 MAX airplanes manufactured since the grounding. The FAA will perform in-person, individual reviews of these aircraft.
    • Operator Training Programs The FAA will review and approve training programs for all Part 121 operators.

    These actions are applicable only to U.S. air carriers and U.S.-registered aircraft.While our processes will inform other civil aviation authorities, they must take their own actions to return the Boeing 737 MAX to service for their air carriers. The FAA will ensure that our international counterparts have all necessary information to make a timely, safety-focused decision.


    FAA Statement on House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Report

    The FAA is committed to continually advancing aviation safety and looks forward to working with the Committee to implement improvements identified in its report. We are already undertaking important initiatives based on what we have learned from our own internal reviews as well as independent reviews of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents. These initiatives are focused on advancing overall aviation safety by improving our organization, processes, and culture.Last month, the FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for an airworthiness directive (AD) that will mandate a number of design changes to the Boeing 737 MAX before it returns to passenger service. The FAA continues to follow a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the aircraft to service.


    Boeing 737 MAX AD NPRM Now Available for Early Public Review

    Today, the FAA sent a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for a Boeing 737 MAX airworthiness directive (AD) to the Office of the Federal Register for publication.The NPRM proposes mandating a number of design changes to address an identified unsafe condition.When the NPRM publishes in the Federal Register, a 45 day public comment period will begin. The FAA is posting the NPRM on its website today to enable the public to begin review early.

    The FAA will also be placing the Preliminary Summary of the FAAs Review of the Boeing 737 MAX in the docket to assist with the review of the proposed AD.


    FAA Statement

    In the near future, the FAA plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for an Airworthiness Directive (AD) affecting the Boeing 737 MAX. In keeping with our commitment to remain transparent, the NPRM will provide 45 days for the public to comment on proposed design changes and crew procedures to mitigate the safety issues identified during the investigations that followed the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents.

    The agency continues to follow a

  • News and Updates - 100 Years of Aviation in Alaska
    06 October 2020

    FAA issues free educational resource discussing 100 years of work to create a safe, modern aviation system in Alaska.

  • News and Updates - Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
    02 October 2020


    Extension of Minimum Slot Usage Requirements

    The FAA issued an extension of limited waiver of the minimum slot usage requirements through March 27, 2021. This slot usage waiver applies to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Additionally, the FAA also extended through March 27, 2021 our COVID-19-related policy for prioritizing flights canceled at designated International Air Transport Association (IATA) Level 2 airports in the United States for purposes of establishing a carriers operational baseline in the next corresponding scheduling season.

    The relief announced in this notice is available for the Winter 2020/2021 scheduling season, which runs from October 25, 2020 through March 27, 2021. Conditions on the relief announced in this notice require compliance beginning on October 15, 2020.


    Second Amendment to Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 118

    The Federal Aviation Administration issued a final rule on September 30, 2020, that further amends Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 118. Aviation activity continues to increase, and the industry is beginning to address the backlog of required training, checking and testing requirements. However, many of the challenges that existed when the FAA first issued the SFAR in April remain today as the public health emergency continues. SFAR 118-2 is effective on October 1, 2020, and is available for public display in theFederal Register. It will publish on October 6, 2020.

    The chart contained within this final rule provides a summary of each affected regulation; the original SFAR relief provided on April 29, 2020; the amended SFAR relief from June 25, 2020; and the second amended relief provided in this SFAR update. Those who may be affected by this amendment should carefully review the eligibility, conditions and duration of each section of relief to ensure compliance. The FAA has revised theFAQs(PDF)to help explain the amended regulatory relief.

    Amendment of Air Carrier Training Exemptions

    The FAA is amending two regulatory exemptions it previously issued to scheduled and on-demand US air carriers. The agency is amending exemptions18510(PDF)and18511(PDF), which give personnel grace periods for completing certain training and qualification requirements due through Dec. 31, 2020. The agency previously amended through Nov. 30, 2020 exemptions18509and18512, which give crewmembers relief from having to don protective breathing equipment or oxygen masks in training, checking, or evaluation. The amendments do not expand relief that the original exemptions and previous amendments provided. The new amendments extend the same relief to the next population of crewmembers who will become due in the approaching months.


    FAA Extends Flight Attendant Exemption

    TheFAA is amending through Jan. 31, 2021 an exemption the agency previously issued to help protect flight attendants from contracting COVID-19. The exemption allows flight attendants to relocate from the seats they would normally occupy so they can observe social distancing. It also excuses them from having to demonstrate the use of certain emergency equipment including life preservers and oxygen masks, allowing for alternative methods to inform passengers regarding the use of such equipment. Individual carriers must submit a Letter of Intent and be granted authorization by FAA in order to exercise the relief in the exemption.

    Updated Health Guidance for Air Carriers and Crews
    The FAA issued an updatedSafety Alert for Operators (SAFO)(PDF)that provides interim health guidance from the CDC that air carriers and crew members should be following during the COVID-19 public health emergency.