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Corona-virus is still with us and kills people with a vengeance.
It may be still with us for a long time.
It may greatly influence the outcome of our Presidential elections.
Things will get much worse before they get better.
But ...


You are still alive! And the fact that you have logged on this website means that you still have your dream deep inside your heart.
Model: Tereza Tancosova                                                        a Martin Novak photo
... and not without a reason, and not a moment too soon. The airline’s top management – Doug Parker, CEO, and Robert Isom, 
President, have sent an e-mail to American Airlines workers spelling out what everyone suspected, but people were afraid to ask. That e-mail warned that thousands of people will be laid off at the end of September. 
With both major U.S. political parties – the Democrats and the Republicans – being far more interested in campaigning and winning the presidential elections, and the huge racial divide between Blacks and all other races funneled by “action/reaction” events in the U.S. public, one can’t help but wonder where the U.S. is heading. Will it survive, or will it follow 
the fate of USSR? Even the feeble-minded now understand that sending our troops around the globe at a great expense to American people whose taxes are used to pay for this stuff, has very little to do with “protecting our freedom.” It’s got a lot more to do with protecting the interests of others, who are more connected with the folks sitting for decades in the U.S. government. It is all at the expense of those who are still honest enough to work hard and pay taxes; but even their efforts are not enough to support this agenda and the virus is only speeding up the fall out of policies created decades ago, which have been overtly or covertly perpetuated over the years. All those billions spent on useless war making that hurts most Americans would be much better spent on helping Americans survive the tough times we are in. And it is time to realize that our worst enemies are not half the world away but right in our midst of us who have nothing else to do but organize and support riots. 
Certainly, every action creates reaction – one the very basic laws of physics the more fortunate of us learned in grade school. And so the hatred among people of different colors and opinions is only growing. When we see little 3-year olds raising their fists in the Black Panther fashion, you know that their parents are sowing seeds of wind, which will come back as a storm. And the next generation will take these seeds of storm and plant it further, to inherit the hurricane. The question now is, is this hurricane going to show itself as a “velvet revolution” as we have seen in some more civilized European nations, or is it going to erupt in a civil war.
When we see the riots on TV, and the response to them both by various law organizations and civilians, knowing that American homes (on the average) harbor at least five different firearms, from handguns to AK-15 type machine guns, and seeing that clear thinking is not the strong side of American “masses,” we may expect a civil war very soon. And it will make no difference who is the president – whether it is a crooked politician or a crooked businessman. It will be too late to stop this destruction of once a great nation.

I am sorry to inject this little bit of my opinion, but it is hard to keep this inside, especially since I have been through one “socialist revolution” already in 1948 Czechoslovakia. It was a peaceful takeover under the watchful eyes of Communist militias armed with machine guns, and those who opposed the change (by election) were dealt with very quickly through a swift, one sided court proceedings and a noose. So I am saying all this only because I would like people to step back and finally, without any party-like “hooray” consider what future they’d like for themselves.
Speaking of the future, we now should concern ourselves with the future of the airlines. Never before, perhaps with the exception of World War II, have airlines been in such poor financial situation without a clear positive outlook as we are today. As I have pointed out in all of my text books and career prep books for people who wish to become flight attendants, the well-being of airlines is directly hooked to the economical well-being of the nation.
Until the coronavirus ruined the world and particularly this country, American economy has been at its best. In fact, many of us worried that the economy was so great in such a short time, that it might not last. No one, however, expected that it would crash because of a global catastrophe. It certainly is not something that one could blame U.S. politicians for.

It is now, more than ever, that one should dig out the well-known words J.F. Kennedy once spoke: “It is not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for the country.” To start with, get that mask, keep social distance, and stay home unless you got to go out very urgently. Please. Pretty please. If we all do it, we’ll get rid of the virus faster. We all will live better faster. Thank you.

Model: Tereza Tancosova                                                                               A Martin Novak photo
In a crisis, think first. Never panic. Be prepared with Plan A, Plan B, and if things are really tough, have even Plan C ready and make sure it is executable.
The longer the virus strains our economy, the longer it will take for the airlines to get back into “the black.” Most airline planners and aviation economists agree that it will take perhaps up to 5 years for U.S. airlines to get to pre-covid-19 levels in domestic traffic, and possibly up to 7 years when it comes to international flights. This guesstimate depends on, however, if scientists develop an effective agent to deal with the virus.

During those lean years that we will hope for recovery, more flight attendants and pilots who are older now, will be retiring, so this attrition will help to open up some spots for flight crews with most airlines. What happens in the U.S. also depends a lot on what happens globally. Will a lot of other airlines fold and never come back, as governments will be unable or unwilling to support them? Will Middle Eastern airlines, government controlled airlines in countries like China, or flag carriers of some other countries keep on receiving government subsidies? And will those subsidized airlines be able to find their way into the airline systems of other countries? Open Air agreements – and the way they were written up – may allow government-sponsored airlines invade countries around the world, squashing the struggling private companies. As absurd as it may seem now, it’s not unthinkable that one day the Emirates will fly trips like Dubai – San Francisco – New York – Dallas – Atlanta – Miami – New York – San Francisco - Dubai, while U.S. airlines such as American and United, will be history.

Don’t think that the government would bail out the big airlines indefinitely – that’s what we hoped for when PanAm and Braniff were in trouble, after all they have helped the U.S. government with flying its troops so many times – but now they are just a memory. 
This is the gloomiest picture one can think of. Let’s think of something a little more optimistic, based on our experiences from 9/11 and SARS. The recovery after September 11 is altogether a different ball of wax. Airlines were not limited to fill the planes to capacity, provided people lost their fear of terrorism. No one could estimate how long that would take, but within 6 months most people became more complacent and were not too afraid of flying shorter hops. Within a year, even trans-continental flights began to fill.

SARS was a more similar scenario to what we face today and it took longer for people to come back to their “usual” flying needs. Still, however, with many people recovering and doing well, treatment being available and effective, there was no real need for flying with planes half empty. It was not long that people were flying with the middle seats occupied as well. Gradually, flight attendants who were furloughed (and I suppose people in other airline jobs as well) were returning to their jobs, unless some decided that this emotional roller coaster was not for them and found another job elsewhere. It was, in a way, unwanted “cleansing,” when those whose heart was not entirely in it, decided to find work elsewhere.

The major difference between 9/11 and SARS and Coronavirus is, that 9/11 and SARS has affected mainly people in aviation, transportation and hospitality fields. Other jobs were not affected as badly, and most people could still live an almost normal life.

Coronavirus does not let us live our lives as usual. It is more vicious. People forgot what a true epidemic, let alone a pandemic, can be like. There have been also a number of real social changes in America which affect people’s reaction to today’s virus. I am not happy to say this, but a lot more Americans these days are more selfish, more arrogant and more ignorant. It is not just the people we meet in the park, who do not wear masks or congregate in big numbers. It is also people who are supposedly more educated, people who claim to care about others, such as politicians at all levels.

While people in many other countries tend to be more responsible and agree that it is time to give up some of the little things we have taken for granted, people in this country react with anger, claiming that their personal liberties are taken away from them. Those folks should go and live in countries like North Korea, China, and many African countries to realize how lucky we are here to enjoy so much, while being asked so little.

What I am trying to say is that it may be really a long time before the virus is conquered to the level that we may start returning to normal life without fear, primarily because of a relatively small group of ignorant people. Their reckless actions will influence all of us, and unless these people smarten up our country will become a country without a future.

Let’s hope, though, that perhaps, by some sort of a miracle, people will smarten up, and in a few years there will be again opened positions with U.S. airlines and your dream to become a flight attendant or a pilot will not be as far-fetched as it is now. What should you do in the meantime, aside from hanging onto your dream?
As I suggested in April’s write-up here, use the time to your advantage. I will touch on several possibilities, going by your age – from just finishing High School to finishing college; from having limited experience in customer service to getting plenty not just to have a great resume, but also to gain truly a great understanding and insight into what a great customer service means; what the middle aged – from the younger middle aged to the older middle aged folks – can do to improve their marketability in aviation. Without sparing any words, I will also touch on the importance of building your skills day by day, and never rely on that someone will hire you based on “affirmative action.” Affirmative action was perhaps the biggest disservice to all people, not just people of color, by our politicians. Always rely only on your knowledge and skills.

This is primarily an advice for people who wish to become flight attendants or would like to work in some of the customer service positions at the airport. Since it may be years before there are openings for new people with the airlines in this country, you should seriously consider learning a new language or two, for three reasons: you’ll have the time to do it, you can do it in your spare time and it increases your marketability.

If you speak only English, start with a language that has some common roots with English – French, German, Swedish or Dutch. There may be enough people speaking German and French in this country, but airlines may have a hard time to find persons who speak Dutch or Swedish when international flying picks up. And never forget, the more languages you know, the easier it is to learn others.

Hispanics who are in this country legally have an advantage that they are usually bi-lingual already as kids. But there are so many, that it is not as much of an advantage – so try to learn also Portuguese (preferably Brazilian, as most U.S. airlines will expand to South America again, rather than starting flights to Portugal), Italian, or French.

If you speak Mandarin Chinese, try to learn Cantonese as well. Also, try to improve on your written Chinese words – chances are that if you were born here and speak Mandarin, you still cannot read and write Chinese characters. If you are someone who is not familiar with Asian language, I’d strongly discourage you from trying to learn any of the major Asian languages, unless you have an opportunity to study in an “emersion” environment. But even then, it’s unlikely you will learn how to write and read in that language.

Since it may take time before the airlines hire new people again, you might also look into other fields – if you were good at school, try to get a degree in Business. That might prepare you for “post-flight attendant” or “post hands-on piloting” career, such as in management.

But perhaps the most important thing to do is to find a job and hang onto it, because you’ll be always more likely to land the airline job if you are employed already. It is an uphill battle if you are unemployed when you are applying and interviewing. Do not hop from one job to another too often, airlines like when your longevity with an employer is at least 3 years or longer. Why?

People, who change jobs often, are viewed mostly as people who either cannot grasp the important parts of the job and do not perform well, or as people who “do not fit in,” people who are not team players. Those people are seen like they just stay long enough to make some money, but are not really what a company needs. And, no matter what anyone says, staying with an employer longer simply looks good on your resume, shows your stability.

The other thing that shows stability is how often you have moved. If you move too often from a place to place, you are seen as a drifter (unless your spouse has been in the military and you had to move because of your spouse’s transfers).

As I mentioned, this “low” for aviation may last this time much longer than we have seen in the past. It would be wise also to start thinking if there might be another field you‘d be interested in, so that if it ever happened again and you’d be furloughed after flying for a few years (it has been some 15 years between the lows due to 9/11 and SARS and current calamity), you’d have an alternate job to go to. You need to think long term because you need to be able to save up for old age (sounds funny, but it’s true). Do not think that Social Security Insurance would be enough to live on when you can or have to retire. 

If you are a truly caring person who likes people, then nursing is the field to go into – either as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), or a Registered Nurse (RN). It is conceivable that after the experience with the virus last Spring, when there was extreme shortage of nurses, there will be government financial resources and incentives to study nursing, and get it done in a short time to become a nurse. You might still have some time to gain good clinical experience in the field, and that would make you all the more valuable to the airlines. Becoming a teacher may become another profession where the government will need to invest in people, just judging by what is happening now.

So, do those things while you wait. Don’t start thinking about it when it is time to start applying. Don’t just go between all kinds of jobs and unemployment, because that is a turn off for the interviewer.

Who should do those things? Primarily young people who have just finished high school or college. If you are in the middle of your college studies and have the itch to drop out - DON’T. That would be the biggest mistake you could make. But do something else. If you just finished high school and can’t find a job, try volunteering – be it Goodwill, Salvation Army, hospitals or now one of those places that distributes food for the needy. College students can do that as well. Again, it looks great on your resume.

If you are between 20-35 years old (and still hoping to fly) and just lost a job, don’t just go and apply for two or three jobs every day, try to volunteer as well. It never hurt anyone and it always shows that you cared. I know that job is important and money does not come easy, but never forget that it is important to drum up good references – and those got to come from other people who can say they know you or have worked with you. Besides, it will keep you busy so you won’t have time to get depressed. It may also help to create a bit of networking for yourself – you may need interesting people who might help.

It is a sad fact that the older you get, the chances that you will be a successful applicant for the flight attendant job will get smaller. If you are between 40 and 50 now, it is not impossible, but younger people will have better chances. You just have to compensate for your age in other ways: you can show charm without looking like a pushover. Your experience and knowledge from previous jobs that can be useful with the airlines is something you need to stress. Show class; show you got that “something” passengers will respond to.

And don’t forget to use all that waiting time for your airline interview preparation. With this much time and materials that are available - combined with support - failure will not be an option. If you have any particular questions, please e-mail me: tomjanovsky@yahoo.com. 

Shares of two main corporate jet manufacturers, Textron and Dassault, have dropped by 40% in value. Shares of the two principal commercial aircraft manufacturers, Airbus in France and Boeing in the U.S., have also lost on world’s stock exchanges. Companies making smaller regional jets and turboprops, such as Brazilian Embraer, Canadian Bombardier and French ATR are even worse off, as they were in the middle of merger talks when the virus hit – Airbus was hoping to absrob ATR and Bombardier, while Boeing though it was “deal done” with Embraer. 

Hardly anyone (save for a handful of plane leasing companies) is buying new planes now, and airlines have either postponed deliveries of new planes or cancelled orders altogether. Over half of global passenger fleet (more that 14,000 airliners) is mothballed just about anywhere around the world where the planes could be parked. Some airlines that had to park the planes may not survive. That may become a boon to potential entrepreneurs a few years down the road who will try to start new, mostly low cost, airlines.

Airbus and Boeing, two principal makers of large airliners, have serious problems as well, not just because of surplus of parked airplanes. Boeing has a huge problem with the B737MAX, and the plane still has not been approved to go back into service. But the problems around it, and the outright scandal exposing the “buddy-buddy” relationship between the FAA and Boeing, and the bad attitude problem among Boeing’s engineers and workers, have created a much worse problem overall – every new aircraft will have to undergo a lot more stringent testing before it goes on to be sold. That will affect both Boeing and Airbus, though Airbus – lacking this cozy relationship with certification bodies around the world - is affected less. Airbus also seems to have always shown a much higher level of professionalism than Boeing at most levels.

The slowdown of sales both at Airbus and Boeing, along with used aircraft piling up everywhere where they can be kept, creates a domino effect. Suppliers of parts to these two companies have no one else to sell their parts, and are close to, or in bankruptcy. This huge build up in airplane inventory means that production of new ones will not resume at pre-covid levels at all plane-makers in many years. Unless their suppliers find a way to manufacture something else, they’ll be out of business. That means that if and when the production of planes picks up again, someone else will have to step in to make the parts that used to be manufactured by the old suppliers, and that will take time to take it all up and running. Things got even more difficult for Boeing at the beginning of September (2020), when new problems arose in the B787 production.

Boeing employees have at least some work in the future guaranteed when the FAA will finally release guidelines for “fixing up” all the B737MAX that have been produced up to date. It will be a massive undertaking to get all those that have been flying, and those that waited for delivery to meet the directives. But no matter what happens, the plane makers have a lot of thinking to do about how to navigate production in the future.

Have your emergency plan ready and stick to it. Don't get depressed.
Everybody needs a "dreamlifter" today.
UPDATED 9/10/20
All airline employees observed in silence how the situation with coronavirus is not changing for the better. Thousands die of it in this country every week. Thousands of health care workers put their lives on the line, while hundreds of thousands of Americans ignore the desperate requests by people who are very familiar with the virus, to obey by doing simple things that can help a lot. Starve the virus of its “food” and you will eradicate it. It’s that simple. But, as it seems, it is not as simple to millions of people living in this country. People, who are used to more self control, and countries where laws are truly enforced, not the wishy-washy approach we see in our country, are recovering much faster. 

But in this country, where mostly idiots use the words “freedom of expression,” “personal rights” and “constitution” like mouthwash, and where “racism” and “sexism” are used as weapons to get anything when everything else fails, there are enough selfish people to ignore what the medical community is asking for. Consequently, both China and Italy, once the worst epicenters of the disease, have done well, and United States is the leading example of human ignorance. It would not matter as much if eventually it backfired on the ignorant, but often it is people who are totally innocent who get affected by other people’s selfishness. And as perhaps aviation is the industry affected the most by the virus, aviation employees get the dirtiest end of the stick.

When the first help to the airlines was designed and okayed by the government, it was with the hope that the coronavirus would be suppressed soon to such levels that we’d be closer to the pre-virus times. It was an immense moral booster and a hope-giver to all who work in aviation. Massive layoffs were prevented and families were saved – for a while. After all, those six months that this government support was scheduled for, that was a lot of time, right?

But, courtesy of ignorant and selfish people in this country and perhaps even elsewhere, we have not beaten the virus. We have no vaccination, and we have no cure. In the meantime, nearly 1 million people around the world have been infected. All we have are hard working people in research and hospitals, and idiots in the streets with big mouths that proclaim their “freedoms.” It affects us all, but airlines perhaps the most.

American Airlines was the one who has moved the ball on August 25th when Doug Parker, CEO, and Robert Isom, President, sent out an e-mail to all employees, an e-mail they had hoped would never have to be sent.

It was brief, apologetic, and to the point: if the U.S. government does not provide by October 1 another wave of support like in April, there will be furloughs, and there will be lay-offs. Most airlines were unable to get enough voluntary resignations, retirements, or voluntary leave-of-absence applications to bring the total number of employees down to a sustainable level. Current traffic amounts to about 30% of AA’s traffic at this time last year.

While it is certainly better than the 10% just a few months ago, it is still far from what could sustain the airline, especially if keeping the current number of employees. American put it down in numbers: if there is no further government support (and politicians of both Democratic and Republican parties do not seem to give a damn about the “little people,” but are still trying to sneak in all kind of other packages with the bail-out package they have had on their agendas, but were unable to pass), American will have to lay off about 1,500 management personnel permanently. That might not be the worst thing to happen, as a lot of managers have been dispensable and served only as a buffer between the little people and the higher-ups.
But the people who will be hurt the most are the ones who need support the most: the flight attendants and the pilots. About 57% of AA’s flight attendants and 23% of pilots will be cut without any further support. All in all, American estimates that at least 30% of employees – or 17,000 - will have to go, which will bring the total of AA’s employees shed due to the virus to about 40,000. American has this plan in place and it will be put in action on October 1, 2020, if the politicians do not get off their butts and agree on a new support package (AA hopes that the U.S. government would inject another $25 billion into the airlines like in April). 

It seems that the above scenario becomes a blueprint for the rest of the major airlines. While United did not elaborate on how many of which group of employees will be laid-off on October 1, it said around the same time as when AA sent its e-mail to employees, that it will have to lay-off about 30,000 employees if left without government help. On September 2, United produced figures that were more precise, and – again – stressed that these layoffs depend on the availability of another $25 billion for the airlines from the government.

The layoffs/furloughs are still estimated to be around 30,000 people, but United this time gave a little breakdown. United said in its press release that of the 30,000 workers who will have to go, almost 7,000 are flight attendants, 2,260 are ticket counter and gate agents, 2,010 mechanics, 1,400 people from management and about 2,850 pilots. While neither United nor American elaborated on how many aircraft will have to be shed from their liveries and how they plan to go about it in order to avoid paying tie-down fees that now amount to millions, United says that only 37% of its flights that operated in September 2019 are operating now. 

United’s planners are also certain that as long as the coronavirus infections keep at current rates, flights will not fill to more than 50%. No one so far has addressed the issue of social distancing on the aircraft which will be one of the jokers in the pack. That is becoming more of an issue now that research shows that the aerosolized droplets from cough travel not only 6 feet as was estimated before, but twice as far. United said openly that government’s life-line would be more than welcome. Unfortunately, our government is broke.

Delta only announced that, without help, it would lay off almost 2,000 pilots, so if one tries to guess and extrapolates the number to possible flight attendant lay-offs, around 7,000 flight attendants will be let go. All this is happening despite the fact that some 140,000 employees from the largest U.S. airlines have taken other options – early retirements (mostly effective by the end August) or unpaid voluntary leaves of absence – have helped to reduce the number of others being fired.

And as one could guess, or almost expect, the only airline that could – always could, can again, and probably always will, due to its type of management and company culture – handle the pandemic in more humane terms is Southwest Airlines. Southwest announced that because of early retirements and unpaid leaves it won’t have to lay-off anyone involuntarily this year – with or without government support. In case the bosses of large airlines wondered what is Southwest’s “magic” in going through bad times with the least damage to employees, the answer has always been clear: Southwest cares first about people, and that means both the passengers and employees.

Model: Tereza Tancosova                                                                  A Martin Novak photo