New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by 131sixfive » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:50 am

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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by tbone » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:45 pm

ArthurDent wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:26 pm
Yep, thought that R2mil per year was a bit rough. Just spoke to a mate who is a captain there. He takes home R50k per month. Still a very good salary, but I think that compares badly with Comair and Mango, never mind SAA.

Sax captain start at 89’838, up to 115’280, this was 2016-2017 finyear

The above exclude flightpay / per diems, 1.5 mil for shits & giggles

I am comparing SAX to the likes of Endevour (Delta), R1, Jazz in Canada, all around the $5-6000 usd / $7000 Canadian for senior captains.

China etc has no feeder, and they are deperate, and they pay, if you are prepared to go there...

EK 777 as offered to SAA pilots pax

FO $8194 apartment or $3903
CPT $ 11’613 villa or $4380

Freigher

FO $7’154 + $2997 housing
CPT $11’188 + $3406 housing
...eagles may soar but weasels dont get sucked into jet engines...

...there is no replacement for displacement...

...‘sauvage de la journée’...

...'LOSS OF SEPARATION WITH TERRAIN'....
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by ArthurDent » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:33 pm

tbone wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:45 pm

Sax captain start at 89’838, up to 115’280, this was 2016-2017 finyear

The above exclude flightpay / per diems, 1.5 mil for shits & giggles
I have no idea whether your figures are right, but if they are, how did you get to $12000 per month? Even your highest figure works out to R1.38 mil per year. That’s still R10000 per month short of R1.5 mil and works out to $8300 per month for the most senior captain at SAX. As a company which started with DEC’s, I can only assume that their most senior captains have been in the left seat there for 24 years. That is a lot of compounded pay increases.

While we are on the subject, what would you think is fair to pay an airline captain in SA?
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by tbone » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:48 pm

ArthurDent wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:33 pm
tbone wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:45 pm

Sax captain start at 89’838, up to 115’280, this was 2016-2017 finyear

The above exclude flightpay / per diems, 1.5 mil for shits & giggles
I have no idea whether your figures are right, but if they are, how did you get to $12000 per month? Even your highest figure works out to R1.38 mil per year. That’s still R10000 per month short of R1.5 mil and works out to $8300 per month for the most senior captain at SAX. As a company which started with DEC’s, I can only assume that their most senior captains have been in the left seat there for 24 years. That is a lot of compounded pay increases.

While we are on the subject, what would you think is fair to pay an airline captain in SA?
As I said, my R-$ was further out than I tought...

What is fair ? Fair is not fair... life is not fair... i am going to use comair, as they got to where they are, without underhanded agreements, price fixing, subsidies, grants, sponsorships, call it what you want, they got tickets sold.

Comair pays a ‘fair wage’ to their crew, they are properly geared, debt wise, their crew do a fair bit of work for that wage as well....close to 1000 per annum, Cap 1 roughly R 120 pm.

Now put that into scale, a CRJ per seat mile cost, is 30-40% higher than a 737 NG, yes the catering truck catcher cost close to $100 BAR, but fuel flows around 2500 KGH for roughly 160 seats, (BA Comair, not sure the exact LOPA) CRJ 200 about 1200 KGH for 50... both aircraft configured for Business / economy, not LCC.

Where do you draw the line ? pilots on an aeroplane 1/3 the size, and twice as expensive to operate, cant be expected to work half the hours for 95% of the salaries.

Fair for SAX, (roughly the same as Link /CemAir/Solenta) would be around R65 pm, with benefits, and possibly a fair hourly rate from 65-80 hours per month, as all other airlines work crew 80 hrs pm...

Yes, the toilets of the greater world is currently our oyster... But I have not heard many Saffers taking those $22’000 pm jobs in China either.

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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by ArthurDent » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:10 am

tbone wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:48 pm

As I said, my R-$ was further out than I tought...

What is fair ? Fair is not fair... life is not fair... i am going to use comair, as they got to where they are, without underhanded agreements, price fixing, subsidies, grants, sponsorships, call it what you want, they got tickets sold.

Comair pays a ‘fair wage’ to their crew, they are properly geared, debt wise, their crew do a fair bit of work for that wage as well....close to 1000 per annum, Cap 1 roughly R 120 pm.

Now put that into scale, a CRJ per seat mile cost, is 30-40% higher than a 737 NG, yes the catering truck catcher cost close to $100 BAR, but fuel flows around 2500 KGH for roughly 160 seats, (BA Comair, not sure the exact LOPA) CRJ 200 about 1200 KGH for 50... both aircraft configured for Business / economy, not LCC.

Where do you draw the line ? pilots on an aeroplane 1/3 the size, and twice as expensive to operate, cant be expected to work half the hours for 95% of the salaries.

Fair for SAX, (roughly the same as Link /CemAir/Solenta) would be around R65 pm, with benefits, and possibly a fair hourly rate from 65-80 hours per month, as all other airlines work crew 80 hrs pm...
And here I was thinking that you knew what you were talking about.

Comair pilots are limited to 900 hours per year (the same as SAA). That works out to 75 hours per month if you take your leave piecemeal or 80 hours per month if you take a three week or 4 week stretch.

Also, according to your own figures, a Comair CAP 1 earns R5000 per month more than a SAX CAP 24.

Talking about hours. I know a SAX pilot who flew 870 hours over the last year (excluding the grounding obviously). Pilots can only fly as much as they are rostered. This isn't really in their own hands and depends on whether their airline can supply them with aircraft to fly.

And then you went down the CASM route. There are a few important factors here, which I shouldn't have to explain to a management pilot at an SA airline.

When you work out your route structure and revenue management, you have to look at your own cost structure, customer base and regional factors which influence either or both. One of those is cost of personnel, especially crew. Let us forget pilots for now, if your argument is even close to being correct, then all employees at SAX should be happy to work for 50-60% of their contemporaries at Comair. Their airline operates aircraft which are a third of the size and much more inefficient per seat-mile to operate. After all, why would you treat pilots differently from the other crew or employees. Hosties serve pax, engineers fix aircraft, HR people waste time and money and pilots fly aircraft. Or is a CRJ or Dash8 that much less difficult to fly than a 737?

The argument actually works the opposite way around. First you see what your aircraft, crew, employees and other costs are going to be, and then you see whether the route can sustain the required ticket price to cover those things.

Now let's get to pilots. The US regional model have a few drivers which SA doesn't have. Firstly, there are just under 100 000 US airline pilots, of which less than 30% fly for the regionals. Around 4% of those pilots retire every year, a further 2% leave for other reasons and the market is currently expanding at around another 1%, opening up almost 6000 jobs at major airlines every year. It means that there is a 20% turnover of pilots at the regionals and also a very active airline pilot market. Never mind the current pressure on US pilot supply due to lucrative contracts elsewhere, reduction of military training and low uptake at the bottom end of the market due to historically low salaries. In other words, the chickens are coming home to roost in the US market. These low salaries came about due to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy practice in the US where conditions of employment can be unilaterally changed, diverting money from the workers to the accountants and other parasites, but things are now rapidly changing in that market.

In SA, there is a total airline pilot market of around 1300 pilots. Turnover is notoriously slow with time to command at SAA around 18 years and at Comair probably around 10 years. There also isn't really an upward career path and all the SA airlines learn the lesson sooner or later:- you have to pay your pilots market related salaries. That means that over time, all the airlines tend to end up paying more or less the same for the same positions. New entrants take some time to get this, but even Safair, Airlink and Mango has had to give huge increases over the last year, to such an extent that senior pilots at Airlink and Mango earn at least the same as the figures you gave for SAX pilots.

The problem for Comair, Link and SAX is essentially the same. There was a gradual leveling of salaries across these airlines over time plus they have been in operation for a significant number of years, so salary scales have bloomed over time. The hard lesson is that the only thing more expensive than paying your pilots well is to pay them badly.

My SAX source tells me that his package is "total cost to company". So the numbers you have (which he couldn't confirm because they apparently get annual scales and some complicated formula to get to monthly income) for SAX would include all pension, provident, loss of license and medical aid contributions (Your benefits in other words which was excluded from the number you gave as fair). They are also the only airline which doesn't pay a significant premium for high hours (EFP). Whether you fly 20 or 120 hours, you get the same.

Now, the point of this is the following. I don't think that SAX will start flying again. Zero news over the last two weeks is just ominous. But, to lay that on the pay of SAX pilots or to lay any of the blame on the cost of crew to the company is not only disingenuous, but ethically wrong from a manager at another airline who should know better. I also don't believe that any pilot will tell you that he won't get out of bed for under R100k per month. That just isn't the type of comment anyone in his right mind would make to a prospective employer when your company is in trouble, as SAX has been for a long time.

I have watched this thread until I decided to finally join the chat and I am absolutely appalled at the comments here. I am actually amazed that the SAX pilots have the self-control to keep quiet, or maybe Avcom just doesn't make it onto their radar while all the ones I know are quietly looking for work.
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by Joker11 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:00 am

131sixfive wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:50 am
Business Day article.
https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/compa ... -suggests/

Who would be interested in buying SAX? They got huge amount of debt, old aircraft and are a heap of trouble. No private entity would touch them. Look at AI. No one wants to buy them. Look at our own backyard. No one is interested in buy state-owned companies like Eskom, SAA and the like. These companies have been run to the ground and no investor would touch them with a 10 foot pole.
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by evanb » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:24 pm

Joker11 wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:00 am
Who would be interested in buying SAX? They got huge amount of debt, old aircraft and are a heap of trouble. No private entity would touch them. Look at AI. No one wants to buy them. Look at our own backyard. No one is interested in buy state-owned companies like Eskom, SAA and the like. These companies have been run to the ground and no investor would touch them with a 10 foot pole.

They're certainly in trouble, but they don't have a mountain of debt, certainly nothing of the scale of SAA. In terms of the fleet, while the CRJ's are certainly old, the Dash 8's are not, although from a balance sheet perspective, the CRJ's are owned and the Dash 8's leased, so there is very little value in the company.
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by dakdriver » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:37 pm

ArthurDent wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:10 am
tbone wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:48 pm

As I said, my R-$ was further out than I tought...

What is fair ? Fair is not fair... life is not fair... i am going to use comair, as they got to where they are, without underhanded agreements, price fixing, subsidies, grants, sponsorships, call it what you want, they got tickets sold.

Comair pays a ‘fair wage’ to their crew, they are properly geared, debt wise, their crew do a fair bit of work for that wage as well....close to 1000 per annum, Cap 1 roughly R 120 pm.

Now put that into scale, a CRJ per seat mile cost, is 30-40% higher than a 737 NG, yes the catering truck catcher cost close to $100 BAR, but fuel flows around 2500 KGH for roughly 160 seats, (BA Comair, not sure the exact LOPA) CRJ 200 about 1200 KGH for 50... both aircraft configured for Business / economy, not LCC.

Where do you draw the line ? pilots on an aeroplane 1/3 the size, and twice as expensive to operate, cant be expected to work half the hours for 95% of the salaries.

Fair for SAX, (roughly the same as Link /CemAir/Solenta) would be around R65 pm, with benefits, and possibly a fair hourly rate from 65-80 hours per month, as all other airlines work crew 80 hrs pm...
And here I was thinking that you knew what you were talking about.

Comair pilots are limited to 900 hours per year (the same as SAA). That works out to 75 hours per month if you take your leave piecemeal or 80 hours per month if you take a three week or 4 week stretch.

Also, according to your own figures, a Comair CAP 1 earns R5000 per month more than a SAX CAP 24.

Talking about hours. I know a SAX pilot who flew 870 hours over the last year (excluding the grounding obviously). Pilots can only fly as much as they are rostered. This isn't really in their own hands and depends on whether their airline can supply them with aircraft to fly.

And then you went down the CASM route. There are a few important factors here, which I shouldn't have to explain to a management pilot at an SA airline.

When you work out your route structure and revenue management, you have to look at your own cost structure, customer base and regional factors which influence either or both. One of those is cost of personnel, especially crew. Let us forget pilots for now, if your argument is even close to being correct, then all employees at SAX should be happy to work for 50-60% of their contemporaries at Comair. Their airline operates aircraft which are a third of the size and much more inefficient per seat-mile to operate. After all, why would you treat pilots differently from the other crew or employees. Hosties serve pax, engineers fix aircraft, HR people waste time and money and pilots fly aircraft. Or is a CRJ or Dash8 that much less difficult to fly than a 737?

The argument actually works the opposite way around. First you see what your aircraft, crew, employees and other costs are going to be, and then you see whether the route can sustain the required ticket price to cover those things.

Now let's get to pilots. The US regional model have a few drivers which SA doesn't have. Firstly, there are just under 100 000 US airline pilots, of which less than 30% fly for the regionals. Around 4% of those pilots retire every year, a further 2% leave for other reasons and the market is currently expanding at around another 1%, opening up almost 6000 jobs at major airlines every year. It means that there is a 20% turnover of pilots at the regionals and also a very active airline pilot market. Never mind the current pressure on US pilot supply due to lucrative contracts elsewhere, reduction of military training and low uptake at the bottom end of the market due to historically low salaries. In other words, the chickens are coming home to roost in the US market. These low salaries came about due to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy practice in the US where conditions of employment can be unilaterally changed, diverting money from the workers to the accountants and other parasites, but things are now rapidly changing in that market.

In SA, there is a total airline pilot market of around 1300 pilots. Turnover is notoriously slow with time to command at SAA around 18 years and at Comair probably around 10 years. There also isn't really an upward career path and all the SA airlines learn the lesson sooner or later:- you have to pay your pilots market related salaries. That means that over time, all the airlines tend to end up paying more or less the same for the same positions. New entrants take some time to get this, but even Safair, Airlink and Mango has had to give huge increases over the last year, to such an extent that senior pilots at Airlink and Mango earn at least the same as the figures you gave for SAX pilots.

The problem for Comair, Link and SAX is essentially the same. There was a gradual leveling of salaries across these airlines over time plus they have been in operation for a significant number of years, so salary scales have bloomed over time. The hard lesson is that the only thing more expensive than paying your pilots well is to pay them badly.

My SAX source tells me that his package is "total cost to company". So the numbers you have (which he couldn't confirm because they apparently get annual scales and some complicated formula to get to monthly income) for SAX would include all pension, provident, loss of license and medical aid contributions (Your benefits in other words which was excluded from the number you gave as fair). They are also the only airline which doesn't pay a significant premium for high hours (EFP). Whether you fly 20 or 120 hours, you get the same.

Now, the point of this is the following. I don't think that SAX will start flying again. Zero news over the last two weeks is just ominous. But, to lay that on the pay of SAX pilots or to lay any of the blame on the cost of crew to the company is not only disingenuous, but ethically wrong from a manager at another airline who should know better. I also don't believe that any pilot will tell you that he won't get out of bed for under R100k per month. That just isn't the type of comment anyone in his right mind would make to a prospective employer when your company is in trouble, as SAX has been for a long time.

I have watched this thread until I decided to finally join the chat and I am absolutely appalled at the comments here. I am actually amazed that the SAX pilots have the self-control to keep quiet, or maybe Avcom just doesn't make it onto their radar while all the ones I know are quietly looking for work.
At last, someone with a bit of sense. I left SAX 1.5 years ago, CAP 8 salary, and the figures being thrown around makes me wonder why I ever left!
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by Joker11 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:13 am

evanb wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:24 pm
Joker11 wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:00 am
Who would be interested in buying SAX? They got huge amount of debt, old aircraft and are a heap of trouble. No private entity would touch them. Look at AI. No one wants to buy them. Look at our own backyard. No one is interested in buy state-owned companies like Eskom, SAA and the like. These companies have been run to the ground and no investor would touch them with a 10 foot pole.

They're certainly in trouble, but they don't have a mountain of debt, certainly nothing of the scale of SAA. In terms of the fleet, while the CRJ's are certainly old, the Dash 8's are not, although from a balance sheet perspective, the CRJ's are owned and the Dash 8's leased, so there is very little value in the company.
Who would be interested in taking SAX over?
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by evanb » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:14 pm

Joker11 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:13 am
Who would be interested in taking SAX over?
Not many, but not because of an excessive debt burden, but because there are no assets or particularly valuable route authorities to speak of.
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by Joker11 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:23 pm

evanb wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:14 pm
Joker11 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:13 am
Who would be interested in taking SAX over?
Not many, but not because of an excessive debt burden, but because there are no assets or particularly valuable route authorities to speak of.
Thanks for the clarification.
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by 131sixfive » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:40 pm

Has anyone heard any new information?
The silence is deafening, the SA Express offices in Bloemfontein have been been unmanned for more than four weeks now. I have heard a rumour via a couple of travel agencies that the current plan is to return to operation on the 27th July but seeing that is a Friday I doubt it.
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by tbone » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:57 pm

ArthurDent wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:10 am
tbone wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:48 pm

As I said, my R-$ was further out than I tought...

What is fair ? Fair is not fair... life is not fair... i am going to use comair, as they got to where they are, without underhanded agreements, price fixing, subsidies, grants, sponsorships, call it what you want, they got tickets sold.

Comair pays a ‘fair wage’ to their crew, they are properly geared, debt wise, their crew do a fair bit of work for that wage as well....close to 1000 per annum, Cap 1 roughly R 120 pm.

Now put that into scale, a CRJ per seat mile cost, is 30-40% higher than a 737 NG, yes the catering truck catcher cost close to $100 BAR, but fuel flows around 2500 KGH for roughly 160 seats, (BA Comair, not sure the exact LOPA) CRJ 200 about 1200 KGH for 50... both aircraft configured for Business / economy, not LCC.

Where do you draw the line ? pilots on an aeroplane 1/3 the size, and twice as expensive to operate, cant be expected to work half the hours for 95% of the salaries.

Fair for SAX, (roughly the same as Link /CemAir/Solenta) would be around R65 pm, with benefits, and possibly a fair hourly rate from 65-80 hours per month, as all other airlines work crew 80 hrs pm...
And here I was thinking that you knew what you were talking about.

Comair pilots are limited to 900 hours per year (the same as SAA). That works out to 75 hours per month if you take your leave piecemeal or 80 hours per month if you take a three week or 4 week stretch.

Also, according to your own figures, a Comair CAP 1 earns R5000 per month more than a SAX CAP 24.

Talking about hours. I know a SAX pilot who flew 870 hours over the last year (excluding the grounding obviously). Pilots can only fly as much as they are rostered. This isn't really in their own hands and depends on whether their airline can supply them with aircraft to fly.

And then you went down the CASM route. There are a few important factors here, which I shouldn't have to explain to a management pilot at an SA airline.

When you work out your route structure and revenue management, you have to look at your own cost structure, customer base and regional factors which influence either or both. One of those is cost of personnel, especially crew. Let us forget pilots for now, if your argument is even close to being correct, then all employees at SAX should be happy to work for 50-60% of their contemporaries at Comair. Their airline operates aircraft which are a third of the size and much more inefficient per seat-mile to operate. After all, why would you treat pilots differently from the other crew or employees. Hosties serve pax, engineers fix aircraft, HR people waste time and money and pilots fly aircraft. Or is a CRJ or Dash8 that much less difficult to fly than a 737?

The argument actually works the opposite way around. First you see what your aircraft, crew, employees and other costs are going to be, and then you see whether the route can sustain the required ticket price to cover those things.

Now let's get to pilots. The US regional model have a few drivers which SA doesn't have. Firstly, there are just under 100 000 US airline pilots, of which less than 30% fly for the regionals. Around 4% of those pilots retire every year, a further 2% leave for other reasons and the market is currently expanding at around another 1%, opening up almost 6000 jobs at major airlines every year. It means that there is a 20% turnover of pilots at the regionals and also a very active airline pilot market. Never mind the current pressure on US pilot supply due to lucrative contracts elsewhere, reduction of military training and low uptake at the bottom end of the market due to historically low salaries. In other words, the chickens are coming home to roost in the US market. These low salaries came about due to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy practice in the US where conditions of employment can be unilaterally changed, diverting money from the workers to the accountants and other parasites, but things are now rapidly changing in that market.

In SA, there is a total airline pilot market of around 1300 pilots. Turnover is notoriously slow with time to command at SAA around 18 years and at Comair probably around 10 years. There also isn't really an upward career path and all the SA airlines learn the lesson sooner or later:- you have to pay your pilots market related salaries. That means that over time, all the airlines tend to end up paying more or less the same for the same positions. New entrants take some time to get this, but even Safair, Airlink and Mango has had to give huge increases over the last year, to such an extent that senior pilots at Airlink and Mango earn at least the same as the figures you gave for SAX pilots.

The problem for Comair, Link and SAX is essentially the same. There was a gradual leveling of salaries across these airlines over time plus they have been in operation for a significant number of years, so salary scales have bloomed over time. The hard lesson is that the only thing more expensive than paying your pilots well is to pay them badly.

My SAX source tells me that his package is "total cost to company". So the numbers you have (which he couldn't confirm because they apparently get annual scales and some complicated formula to get to monthly income) for SAX would include all pension, provident, loss of license and medical aid contributions (Your benefits in other words which was excluded from the number you gave as fair). They are also the only airline which doesn't pay a significant premium for high hours (EFP). Whether you fly 20 or 120 hours, you get the same.

Now, the point of this is the following. I don't think that SAX will start flying again. Zero news over the last two weeks is just ominous. But, to lay that on the pay of SAX pilots or to lay any of the blame on the cost of crew to the company is not only disingenuous, but ethically wrong from a manager at another airline who should know better. I also don't believe that any pilot will tell you that he won't get out of bed for under R100k per month. That just isn't the type of comment anyone in his right mind would make to a prospective employer when your company is in trouble, as SAX has been for a long time.

I have watched this thread until I decided to finally join the chat and I am absolutely appalled at the comments here. I am actually amazed that the SAX pilots have the self-control to keep quiet, or maybe Avcom just doesn't make it onto their radar while all the ones I know are quietly looking for work.


I suppose, those ‘dont know what they talking about’ has managed to grow a small 25 aircraft airline, that is owned, not leased, with very little debt, new aircraft on order, created nearly 300 jobs...


Good luck with all the expert theories and arguments, they will get SAX flying in no time, with government funding that is not generated by anyone’s tax....

B.
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...there is no replacement for displacement...

...‘sauvage de la journée’...

...'LOSS OF SEPARATION WITH TERRAIN'....
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by Swampdonkey » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:10 am

tbone wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:57 pm
ArthurDent wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:10 am
tbone wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:48 pm

As I said, my R-$ was further out than I tought...

What is fair ? Fair is not fair... life is not fair... i am going to use comair, as they got to where they are, without underhanded agreements, price fixing, subsidies, grants, sponsorships, call it what you want, they got tickets sold.

Comair pays a ‘fair wage’ to their crew, they are properly geared, debt wise, their crew do a fair bit of work for that wage as well....close to 1000 per annum, Cap 1 roughly R 120 pm.

Now put that into scale, a CRJ per seat mile cost, is 30-40% higher than a 737 NG, yes the catering truck catcher cost close to $100 BAR, but fuel flows around 2500 KGH for roughly 160 seats, (BA Comair, not sure the exact LOPA) CRJ 200 about 1200 KGH for 50... both aircraft configured for Business / economy, not LCC.

Where do you draw the line ? pilots on an aeroplane 1/3 the size, and twice as expensive to operate, cant be expected to work half the hours for 95% of the salaries.

Fair for SAX, (roughly the same as Link /CemAir/Solenta) would be around R65 pm, with benefits, and possibly a fair hourly rate from 65-80 hours per month, as all other airlines work crew 80 hrs pm...
And here I was thinking that you knew what you were talking about.

Comair pilots are limited to 900 hours per year (the same as SAA). That works out to 75 hours per month if you take your leave piecemeal or 80 hours per month if you take a three week or 4 week stretch.

Also, according to your own figures, a Comair CAP 1 earns R5000 per month more than a SAX CAP 24.

Talking about hours. I know a SAX pilot who flew 870 hours over the last year (excluding the grounding obviously). Pilots can only fly as much as they are rostered. This isn't really in their own hands and depends on whether their airline can supply them with aircraft to fly.

And then you went down the CASM route. There are a few important factors here, which I shouldn't have to explain to a management pilot at an SA airline.

When you work out your route structure and revenue management, you have to look at your own cost structure, customer base and regional factors which influence either or both. One of those is cost of personnel, especially crew. Let us forget pilots for now, if your argument is even close to being correct, then all employees at SAX should be happy to work for 50-60% of their contemporaries at Comair. Their airline operates aircraft which are a third of the size and much more inefficient per seat-mile to operate. After all, why would you treat pilots differently from the other crew or employees. Hosties serve pax, engineers fix aircraft, HR people waste time and money and pilots fly aircraft. Or is a CRJ or Dash8 that much less difficult to fly than a 737?

The argument actually works the opposite way around. First you see what your aircraft, crew, employees and other costs are going to be, and then you see whether the route can sustain the required ticket price to cover those things.

Now let's get to pilots. The US regional model have a few drivers which SA doesn't have. Firstly, there are just under 100 000 US airline pilots, of which less than 30% fly for the regionals. Around 4% of those pilots retire every year, a further 2% leave for other reasons and the market is currently expanding at around another 1%, opening up almost 6000 jobs at major airlines every year. It means that there is a 20% turnover of pilots at the regionals and also a very active airline pilot market. Never mind the current pressure on US pilot supply due to lucrative contracts elsewhere, reduction of military training and low uptake at the bottom end of the market due to historically low salaries. In other words, the chickens are coming home to roost in the US market. These low salaries came about due to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy practice in the US where conditions of employment can be unilaterally changed, diverting money from the workers to the accountants and other parasites, but things are now rapidly changing in that market.

In SA, there is a total airline pilot market of around 1300 pilots. Turnover is notoriously slow with time to command at SAA around 18 years and at Comair probably around 10 years. There also isn't really an upward career path and all the SA airlines learn the lesson sooner or later:- you have to pay your pilots market related salaries. That means that over time, all the airlines tend to end up paying more or less the same for the same positions. New entrants take some time to get this, but even Safair, Airlink and Mango has had to give huge increases over the last year, to such an extent that senior pilots at Airlink and Mango earn at least the same as the figures you gave for SAX pilots.

The problem for Comair, Link and SAX is essentially the same. There was a gradual leveling of salaries across these airlines over time plus they have been in operation for a significant number of years, so salary scales have bloomed over time. The hard lesson is that the only thing more expensive than paying your pilots well is to pay them badly.

My SAX source tells me that his package is "total cost to company". So the numbers you have (which he couldn't confirm because they apparently get annual scales and some complicated formula to get to monthly income) for SAX would include all pension, provident, loss of license and medical aid contributions (Your benefits in other words which was excluded from the number you gave as fair). They are also the only airline which doesn't pay a significant premium for high hours (EFP). Whether you fly 20 or 120 hours, you get the same.

Now, the point of this is the following. I don't think that SAX will start flying again. Zero news over the last two weeks is just ominous. But, to lay that on the pay of SAX pilots or to lay any of the blame on the cost of crew to the company is not only disingenuous, but ethically wrong from a manager at another airline who should know better. I also don't believe that any pilot will tell you that he won't get out of bed for under R100k per month. That just isn't the type of comment anyone in his right mind would make to a prospective employer when your company is in trouble, as SAX has been for a long time.

I have watched this thread until I decided to finally join the chat and I am absolutely appalled at the comments here. I am actually amazed that the SAX pilots have the self-control to keep quiet, or maybe Avcom just doesn't make it onto their radar while all the ones I know are quietly looking for work.


I suppose, those ‘dont know what they talking about’ has managed to grow a small 25 aircraft airline, that is owned, not leased, with very little debt, new aircraft on order, created nearly 300 jobs...


Good luck with all the expert theories and arguments, they will get SAX flying in no time, with government funding that is not generated by anyone’s tax....

B.
Unless I'm mistaken, didn't "‘don't know what they talking about’" also get get grounded by a bunch of non compliance stuff too? How much of their operation is back in place?
"Excuse me while I kiss the sky!" ---Jimi---1967-
ArthurDent
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Re: New SA Express (SAX) woes on the Horizon ??

Unread post by ArthurDent » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:59 am

tbone wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:57 pm

I suppose, those ‘dont know what they talking about’ has managed to grow a small 25 aircraft airline, that is owned, not leased, with very little debt, new aircraft on order, created nearly 300 jobs...
Just to clarify. I have no problem with Cemair or its ability to operate and grow in South Africa, although as the previous poster mentioned there was a little CAA grounding in the very recent past, and if I remember correctly, your CEO and other hangers' on desperately wanted to lay that at SAX's door as well.

I had a specific problem with one of its fleet managers spreading half-truths and bending accepted commercial imperatives to try and indicate that another airline doesn't know what it was doing and that pilot pay was responsible for its demise.

So it wasn't "they". It was just "you".

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