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January 23, 2014

American unveils employee incentive plan to get flights to leave on-time

American Airlines unveiled a new employee incentive plan that will pay workers up to $150 a month if operations at the airline are better than its competitors.

The program, called Ops Olympics, will measure American's on-time arrival, baggage performance, and customer satisfaction against its three largest competitors, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

If American ranks first in the Department of Transportation monthly reports in those categories, employees will earn $50 for each category win, up to a maximum payment of $150 per month. If the carrier does not place first in any of the categories, workers could still get a $50 bonus if the airline's departure times, known as D-zero, are over 70 percent.

"D-zero will be at the core of everything we do at American Airlines. Departing on time leads to consistent on-time arrivals and baggage delivery," chief operating officer Robert Isom said in a message sent to employees on Thursday. "But in order to excel at D-zero, we must be ready. That means no matter your job, you’re there on time, in position, in uniform, with your tools and equipment, trained, rested and ready to go out there and excel. In doing so, we’ll be safe, reliable, and well on the road to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world."

The program is similar to US Airway's "Triple Play" program that offered incentives to the airline's employees for consistent operational performance.

Keep reading for the full letter from Isom.

-Andrea Ahles

Go for the Gold in the Ops Olympics

A Message from Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom

Dear Fellow Employees,

I would like to share with you today the details of a new operational incentive program for our combined airline. The program, which we’re calling the Operations Olympics, commences with January’s results, which the Department of Transportation (DOT) will report in early March in its Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR).

To legacy US Airways employees, the Ops Olympics will replace our Triple Play program following December results (available in February) but looks quite similar. Under the new program, employees of both airlines will earn $50 for each #1 ranking against our biggest domestic competitors, Delta, Southwest and United, in three DOT metrics: 

  • On-time arrivals – Arrivals within 14 minutes of published time,
  • Baggage performance – Mishandled baggage reports (MBR) per 1,000 customers and
  • Customer satisfaction – Complaints sent directly to the DOT per 100,000 enplanements

#1 rankings

against DL, WN and UA

Payout

3 of 3 – Gold Medal

$150

2 of 3– Silver Medal

$100

1 of 3 – Bronze Medal

$50

Note: Maximum monthly payout is $150.

Because we can still run a solid operation and not be in first place in any of these metrics, we’ll look to our combined system on-time departures (D0; D- zero) for a possible $50 payout if our D0 is at 70 percent or better. D0 will be at the core of everything we do at American Airlines. Departing on time leads to consistent on-time arrivals and baggage delivery. But in order to excel at D0, we must be ready. That means no matter your job, you’re there on time, in position, in uniform, with your tools and equipment, trained, rested and ready to go out there and excel. In doing so, we’ll be safe, reliable, and well on the road to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world.

Olympic Qualifier

Goal

Payout

On-time departures (D0)

70 percent (or better)

$50

Note: The Olympic Qualifier payout is only paid when a medal is not earned in a given month.

As Doug outlined when we closed our merger, one way we’ll restore American is by being an industry leader in safe and reliable operations: high on-time performance and completion factor with a low number of mishandled bags. And when weather or other uncontrollable factors disrupt the operation, we must be the best at helping our customers get back on track. We will all know and be held accountable for these measures – they are critical to our customers’ experience so they must be critical to each of us. This incentive program will reward all mainline employees, not just those who work in operations, and is a component of your compensation. We all have a responsibility to run a safe and reliable airline. Because Ops Olympics focuses on mainline performance, our wholly owned regionals will have their own programs that are aligned with goals that they control more directly.

So, let’s get ready to compete. We have a long race ahead of us against fierce competition, but I know that we are up to the challenge if we work together. I can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring. Thank you for keeping our operation running safely on time and for always providing excellent service to our customers.

Here’s to a great year!

Robert

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