It's official. My time at my current airline is coming to a close. I was offered the position I interviewed for on Tuesday and I've decided to accept.
I've seen a few comments and received a few emails from people making a bigger deal of this than it is. This isn't a major airline, nor a national or an LCC or a cargo carrier. This is a lateral move to another regional airline, albeit a brand new one where I'll get seniority very quickly and hopefully upgrade after a few months of flying as an FO.
Once again I need to make a decision about how anonymous I want my blogging to be. I've decided to keep on like I've been doing, where I never mention my company by name (and ask you not to either) but keep it thinly veiled enough for those with knowledge of the industry to know who it is.
The fact that this is a new regional means there are basically two airlines that it could be, and no, it's not the one flying Megawhackers. The airplane I'll be flying is a new 76 seat jet made by a certain South American manufacturer. It looks like the young progeny of a B737 and a A320; I'm still trying to think of a suitable nickname for it. Any suggestions? For now I'm gonna go with ElectroFluf, a nice amalgamation of A320 and B737 nicknames.
I'm going to call my new company "NewCo" - this was actually it's informal name when it was in the planning stages. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of a major airline we'll call "RedCo." NewCo
was formed as part of a deal between RedCo's management and their pilot union during bankruptcy. RedCo has a large fleet of aging DC-9's that need replacing. It is expected that NewCo's flying will replace some of the DC9's; it's possible that RedCo will purchase the ElectroFluf's larger brother to fill in the gap between the ElectroFluf and the A319. In exchange for outsourcing some of their flying to NewCo, RedCo's pilots have the ability to flow down to the top of NewCo's seniority list if RedCo ever furloughs. This flows both ways: when RedCo hires, NewCo pilots will be given first priority to flow up to RedCo.
The upsides to the move are obvious. I'm getting into NewCo fairly early on - I'll be around #100 on a seniority list that's expected to grow to 400 by the end of 2008. I'll see more seniority in a few months at NewCo than I saw in 3.5 years at my current airline. I'll gain turbine PIC fairly quickly, making it easier to go to a major airline of my choice or even flow up to RedCo after 30 months if things turn around there.
On the other hand, I'm frankly not very thrilled about the circumstances under which NewCo was formed, or the fact that I'll be flying an airplane that arguably belongs at mainline for regional wages. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that RedCo pilots negotiated NewCo's existence as well as NewCo's first pilot contract, a majority of RedCo pilots voted for it, and RedCo pilots got something out of the deal in the form of job security if furloughs ever take place. I rather doubt any DC9 pilots are going to be furloughed as RedCo is beginning to hire and has a large order of B787s on the way. A major plus for me is that NewCo will have ALPA on property from the very first day. While the negotiated contract isn't that great (it's just average for the regionals), it's a first contract and having a union on property will help NewCo pilots improve it. I plan on getting involved, as I have been at my current company.
I'm going to miss it here. I like this company and really enjoy the flying and the crewmembers I work with here. It's time to move on, though. My class date at NewCo is 28 September; until then, I'm enjoying the Megawhacker for one last bid.