2019 was a difficult year for American Airlines operations. In having to deal with the 737 MAX crisis, bad weather at some of its hubs, and a dispute with mechanic’s unions. A significant portion of the airline’s flights were considered late. But did you know that the airline’s employees are rewarded when they are able to achieve goals for operational performance?
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, nearly 21% of the airline’s 180,000+ flights were considered late in 2019. This does not include it’s affiliate, American Eagle although the percentage is similar. After a particularly challenging summer, the airline has been working hard to turn things around.
According to an internal memo to employees, American Airlines Senior Vice President of Operations David Seymour shared that the airline achieved several operational goals for the month of January. These include: exact on-time departures; on-time arrivals; turning planes within the allotted time; as well as ‘completion factor’ and ‘controllable completion factor’.
This is what Seymour had to say on the airline’s January achievements, according to View from the Wing:
“In fact, on Jan. 29, we achieved our very first systemwide Perfect Completion Factor day with zero cancellation for both the mainline and regional operations. Thanks to all of our 130,000 team members, we had eight days last month without a single mainline cancellation (matching our previous record set in December 2019) and five days without a single regional cancellation (a new record for our regional operation).”
It is just slightly amusing that American celebrates 8 days in a month without a mainline cancellation while Delta Air Lines has reportedly gone 100 days without the same.
Beat the competition, get a bonus
“American is proud of our January 2020 performance. Our operational performance program, which rewards team members for this success, has been in existence for many years.” -American Airlines spokesperson
Since 2014, American Airlines has had an incentive program for its employees. In fact, the program will pay workers up to US$200 per month if operations at the airline are better than its competitors. Fellow competitors include Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. This is what they get for their achievements:
- $50 for being number one for exact on-time departures for combined mainline and regional services
- $50 for being number one in one-time arrivals for combined mainline and regional services
- $50 for having the fewest mishandled mainline bags
- $50 for being number one in customer satisfaction
The competition is fierce and there’s a good chance employees won’t be able to beat the competition too often. However, they are still able receive $50 if they beat the airline’s on-time departure goals. According to View from the Wing, they are set as the following each month:
- January: 68.3%
- February: 67.3%
- March: 67.0%
- April: 67.0%
- May: 62.4%
- June: 59.0%
- July: 60.7%
- August: 62.5%
- September: 72.5%
- October: 68.2%
- November: 69.9%
- December: 66.2%
In Skift’s 2014 report, Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom said that on-time departures will be “at the core of everything we do at American Airlines. Departing on time leads to consistent on-time arrivals and baggage delivery,”.
Kudos to American Airlines for improving their performance. Our readers have seem to have the most issues with the airline compared to other U.S. carriers. But hopefully this positive trend continues further in to 2020.
Have you flown on American Airlines in recent months? Do you feel like things are improving when compared to previous months? Let us now in the comments.