The CARES act spelled out that any airline taking money to sustain itself can not furlough until October. They took the money, and in October they will fill the streets with thousands of unemployed airline pilots, many of whom have no alternate skills. There is a reason that half of all pilots I have ever worked with or met have worked roofing jobs in their past.
Supposedly, any airline that has historically furloughed 20% deep into their pilot staffing has never recovered as its original self. United was bought by Continental but kept the name. (They like to say merged) US Air cut 50% deep and was bought up by American. Delta and Northwest got married. Today, it is about to happen again. Differences? Well, this could be even worse.
Spirit Airlines, who does not block off any seats to at least try and prevent the spread (although they do take your temperature while boarding) just warned nearly 28% of its pilots they will most likely be furloughed come October. They are also burning $100m per month in cash. That is just an example but the talk on the street is United is about to furlough pilots who were hired as far back as 2006. They are downgrading many captains to First-Officers and some of them were hired back in 2000. United was also overstaffed by 6,000 pilots in May because their International work was at least half of its business. Delta, due to parking so much of its international fleet, is contractually bound to train those long haul pilots to fly the domestic planes. That totals 7,000 training events they must pay for at $20-30k a pop. $150m minimum.
“I know you have been in your own corner office for the last fifteen years and you have actually done a fantastic job, but we’re gonna need you to move into the cubicle in the middle of the room. We also fired your secretary. And we changed to Folgers in the break room, which is now in the bathroom.”
Delta has stated they intend to be a much smaller airline after this is all over. Also meaning they are cutting extra staff. Just in pilots alone, the street is looking to suddenly feel the feet of 30,000 airline pilots; and that is just from the major airlines. Regionals have already started cutting when they can. Some have just gone out of business altogether back in March. Those numbers are just pilots alone.
Let us talk about dispatchers, maintenance techs, gate agents, flight attendants who themselves will probably number 60-75 thousand. All together way over 100,000 airline jobs will start getting cut in October.
I’m feeling lucky. I’m very glad I work for who I work for, but, I am taking no chances. Refinancing the house with a cash-out option to sit on it, and saving what I can until things look better in the spring. Hitting credit cards and savings right away is actually the worst thing one can do, but, for the majority of America, that is all they have to work with. Hopefully, things look better by spring but even then, the industry front lawn won’t look too good. Lotsa dog poop in it I’m predicting.
This will be the big news in October aside from the elections and whatever else is leadership tweeted. But it is coming and is not pretty. If you are in the industry, start getting the next job squared away to hold you over, or go get that drone certificate and try to make it work out.
That is what I’m hearing and that is my view from the window up high.