Going home

Back at Minneapolis – St. Paul airport, from Chicago. After 2-1/2 rounds of golf this weekend, and some great weather — clear with no humidity — I’m ready to head on home.Luckily, the Northwest mechanics strike hasn’t affected my flights, and it seems that some extensive pre-strike planning by Northwest management has paid off (so far):

DETROIT, Aug. 21 – As Northwest Airlines rode out a full weekend with its mechanics’ union on strike, it was enjoying the fruits of an elaborate plan that was meant to not only keep its planes flying, but also to overhaul the way its workers do their jobs.

As relations with the mechanics’ union deteriorated, Northwest developed two goals, executives said. Along with staying in the air, it wanted to cut costs by eliminating 2,000 jobs and embracing the efficient maintenance systems used by JetBlue Airways and other low-fare airlines.

Over the last 18 months, the airline analyzed every job represented by the mechanics’ union at every airport and calculated the skills required to fix each of its planes. It then decided how many of those workers it actually needed and what kind of replacements it would require in the event of a strike.

“It’s a function not only of having new persons, but starting yesterday, we have a new business model,” Northwest’s chief executive, Douglas M. Steenland, said Sunday in an interview.

JetBlue, which does not have union workers, and other low-fare airlines have much lower costs than traditional airlines like Northwest.

I only started flying Northwest domestically this year, but was always impressed with their efficiency and organization.

From The New York Times.


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