San Francisco (KGO) – American Airlines announced that it is moving more than 400 flight attendants that were based at San Francisco International Airport, to other parts of the country.
American has had a flight attendant base at SFO for 50 years, but that will soon be over. Blame competition, higher fuel costs, and lower customer demand. We were told this wouldn’t affect airline service, but it would affect families who worked for Americans and lived in the Bay Area for 20, 30 or even 40 years.
“It’s a sad day. It feels like a kick in the gut. Being told you have to go somewhere else is just heartbreaking for everyone who’s been here in San Francisco,” says Tim Schwartz, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants for Americans at SFO.
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Schwartz, a 27-year-old flight attendant for American Airlines based in San Francisco, responds to the news that he will have to leave California. One of the 403 Bay Area American Airlines flight attendants who will be transferred or offer retirement packages as the company will close its San Francisco flight attendant base.
“We’re a close family and it’s hard to know that our family is going to break up at the end of January and we’re all going to different places,” Schwartz said.
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In a statement, American Airlines said, “We expect San Francisco to maintain the same level of flying it has today, but there are no plans to grow San Francisco and no future flying opportunities…”
Unfortunately, that’s not surprising, says Lee Ohanian, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, saying last year that San Francisco had lost six and a half percent of its population.
“San Francisco is probably the slowest growing major city in the country,” Ohanian says. “The Americans’ move is really just an indication that San Francisco isn’t a growing location and it’s more profitable for them to move flight attendants.”
Some of the flight attendants who were flown in have been with the Americans anywhere from 20 to 40 years. Ohanian says this is something the airline will likely have taken into account.
“Americans think we have a lot of these people who are going to retire in the next five or 10 years if we want to replace them and maintain this base of flight attendants in San Francisco, it will be fatal for them. They live in the city paying rent of $4,000 or $5,000 or $6,000 in rent. per month,” says Ohanian.
Schwartz believes that the financial impact of the pandemic may have been the end here.
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Schwartz, who told us, said he’s looking into the possibility of moving to Phoenix or Dallas. LAX is not an option as there is already a waiting list for American flight attendants there.
In terms of how to stop this, Ohanian believes that some California housing and company regulations should pay off, and we need to demand more from our politicians. Demand to focus on how to attract and retain companies.
Full statement from American Airlines:
“Over the past few years, the US network and agenda has evolved based on a number of factors, including our size, changing customer demand, and changes in our fleet. As we look to the future of our network, we expect San Francisco to maintain the same level of flying today, but no Plans to grow San Francisco and no future flight opportunities based on our current network strategy.For this reason, we have made the difficult decision to close our flight attendant base in San Francisco.Most importantly, any flight attendant based at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) who wants one will have a place At another base. This is not a decision we take lightly and we are committed to working with the SFO team to ensure a smooth transition to another base should they choose to continue flying.”
A letter to the staff:
Dear SFO hostesses,
This is not an easy note for me to write. Today, with great regret, I inform you of our decision to close the SFO Flight Attendant Base and the SMF Satellite effective January 31, 2023. While rumors about this have long circulated, I know it does not make the news any easier. to treat. Right away, I want to tell you that we’re here to support you and to assure you that every SFO based flight attendant who wants one will get a spot on another base, and this news doesn’t affect our plans to continue hiring flight attendants – more on that in a bit.
I feel that our entire team owes it to you to provide a clear explanation of the rationale behind this decision.
Advanced flight schedule and network
It is no secret that COVID has left its mark on the world and the aviation industry in particular. The pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate, from top to bottom, how we do business and how we serve our customers so that we have a reliable and profitable position. Even before the pandemic, our strategy for the West Coast had evolved over the years and decades. At some point in the early 2000s, our SFO base was about five times the size it is today. Some of you may remember the days of running SJC – flying to destinations like Hawaii, CDG Paris, Tokyo NRT and even Taipei (TPE). With competition, rising fuel costs, and lower customer demand, these methods are becoming unprofitable and no longer a good fit for our network.
Our test base at San Francisco International Airport closed a decade ago. Despite this, we worked hard to keep our hostess base open because we learned that many hostesses still call them home. As we look to the future, we expect San Francisco International Airport to maintain the same level of aviation as today, but there are no plans to grow San Francisco International Airport and no future flight opportunities based on our current network strategy. Over the past 10 years or so, our SFO air hostess base has become less and less effective, especially when it comes to supporting our network and schedule – which brings us to today’s tough ad.
I know today’s news is sad and disappointing. That’s why I want you to know that the entire Flight Service team is committed to making this transition as smooth as possible.
Options for other rules
Crew planning is currently finalizing forecasts for vacancies at other bases, and you will have many options. It is possible that all bases, except for LAX, have a certain number of vacancies. We are finalizing the bidding process for these vacancies and will communicate the details in the coming days.
Please check your CCI messages carefully because this is where we will communicate important information about the options you have going forward.
To meet the set expectations, LAX will not have vacancies for displaced flight attendants – despite its desirable geographical proximity to San Francisco International Airport. There are several reasons for this. Mainly, there is a long waiting list of nearly 200 displaced flight attendants (formerly LAX) who already have Priority Return (POR). And when you pair this with little or no changes to our LAX network – especially after the pandemic – we don’t see our LAX host base grow in 2023.
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According to the contract, flight attendants who relocate to a new base are eligible for relocation assistance. You can read more about this online.
Dedicated resources to answer your questions
We have created a custom mailbox to answer questions and prioritize questions about rule closing:
We have also developed a comprehensive guide with frequently asked questions that you can access at Comply365.
Comply365 – My Posts – SFO . Rule Closure Information
We are here to support you
To start things off, we’ll be hosting a town hall at San Francisco International Airport the week of September 26th. I will be alongside several senior leaders from Flight Services and Crew Planning personally to answer your question and help you navigate the flight ahead.
SFO has a long history as a flight attendant base, and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge its rich 50-plus-year past. Many of you reading this have spent the bulk, if not all, of your aviation career here. Your local leadership team and the rest of the flight service are ready to support you over the next few months and thereafter as you adjust to your new base.
If you are using the ABC7 News app, click here to watch the live broadcast
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