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Cosmo

And The Winner Is.......

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The assumption that an operator HAS TO skimp on maintenance and safety to remain competitive is NOY correct. Yes, there are operators who do just that - the unimaginative and/or the incompetent - but, depending on the size of the operation (i.e. how big the overhead) there are lots of other places to effect economies. Efficient operators do so, and survive.

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I think there is a difference between being competitive and low balling. What ever the purpose, it is harmful for the industry, profit margins and wages. I was merely speaking about my experiences with real companies that lowballed. My 2 cents based on how the lowballing companies that I worked for ended up and how their a/c were. $1000/hr for an a/c was the going rate for a Jet box 12 years ago for training. Lowballing keeps the rates down for everyone and it makes it harder for companies to afford new machines, quality equipment, safety, upgrades and pay better wages. It also affects the customers responses as well and I have even come in contact with one customer who refused to do the job with a helicopter because he had paid such a lowballed price the winter before.

 

koala

 

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Koala, I couldn't agree with you more. I still wonder how some clowns can justify a $700/hour jetranger? There is no way when you look at direct operating costs. As long as these lowballers are around, it is going to hurt everyone. Pilot wages haven't exactly been skyrocketing over the past ten years. If we continue to charge 1970's era rates, we as an industry will continue to struggle to get paid properly as professionals. I agree that there are ways to reduce costs without sacraficing safety and/or maintenance, but if people think that is what these lowballers are doing, please send some of that glue my way so I can see the world through a chemically induced haze. Maybe then I'll be able to start flogging my 206 around for 700/hour.

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This is all fine and dandy guys, but what's the solution? Government price controls? A helicopter cabal to control the industry? Employees who finally grow a backbone and vote with their feet? It's one thing to complain about getting it up the rear, it's another thing to complain about getting it up the rear and then willingly bend over.

 

It's supply and demand economics, and since the supply (of pilots and operators in particular) seems to be higher than the demand, this situation will continue for some time. And in tough economic times, a company has to do what it can to survive. If that means simply breaking even, or only going slightly into the hole, then that's what they have to do. If this affects wages and maintenance (but as mentioned it dosen't have to), you can:

A- Accept it and deal with it

B- Do something about it

C- Leave

 

PS: Notice that endless bitching and moaning isn't one of the options. If enough people choose B or C, things will start to change. But since many (if not most) people don't, nothing happens.

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Let's not kid ourselves. The 'low-ballers' I think we all agree we're referring to skimp just the same whether times are hard or not. As to people making competitive decisions to stay in the market, but not skimping on safety and maintenance - as the expression goes, "walk a mile in my shoes." I simply want to qualify some of the sweeping generalizing that goes on in so much of what's said here.

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I'm guessing everone who is posting doesn't own a helicopter??

 

I'm also guessing I'm right??? :boff:

 

 

rob

I would also guess that not every company's owner was directly involved in these bids. Ops managers and marketing guys will often bid to keep the aircraft and crews working at the expense of the guy(s) that actually own the helicopters. Some owners might have had a say on the prices on that list but there are definately a few owners who wouldn't have known about it until after it was all done. Absentee landlords is what I believe its called.

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I would also guess that not every company's owner was directly involved in these bids. Ops managers and marketing guys will often bid to keep the aircraft and crews working at the expense of the guy(s) that actually own the helicopters. Some owners might have had a say on the prices on that list but there are definately a few owners who wouldn't have known about it until after it was all done. Absentee landlords is what I believe its called.

 

I think the above reply is quite good. Some operators do keep prices low in these times soley to keep crews working - the lose of revenue in some cases can be recovered by keeping experienced crews around and not training new people.

I have flown a couple of the helis that the lowest bidder on that last had sold - I was in them right after the sale and they were very well maintained, stripped of all useless crap to lighten them up, and the smoothest and best tracked helis I have been in for some time. They did not seem to be short of maintenance. I worked beside one of their machines and crews last Feb and there was no obvious difference between them and our company in crew/maintenance. That same operator has been around for quite awhile so I do not expect them to be gone any time soon.

I do not own so know little about the game so leave it up to those who do. They will make their own beds and I presume they reap the benefits and pay the price too.

I too have had my wages cut this year and it is unpleasant for sure.

I do enjoy the mindless comment that as crew we need to vote with our feet or we too are to blame for these perceived problems. As I vote with my feet and take a walk to another company - which is not so easy in this job market - my wife may have a bit of an issue with me as the house gets colder and the car needs to be pushed to the piano lessons - the kids might like it though as K.D. is a household favourite and they seem to want it daily.......

Obviously if maintenance is suffering that is a different story. I believe I am worth more dead than alive but for some silly reason my wife has not yet picked that option... (Please - I am not trying to make light of the horrendous consequences of an incident or show disrespect to those who have had the worst happen to them).

This issue is a lot more complex than I feel many are making it out to be and there are several reasons to cut rates I am sure - as I chose to be an employee I must trust that the owners and management are trying to do what is best for the company and employess - or start my own show.

As for oversupply - up until last year, summers seemed to be booked for most companies meaning the obvious - get the rates up in summer and stay busy, lower the winter rates and average them out over the entire year and hold crews. Which brings me back to the top of my comment.

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Well the new ASRD contracts just came out.....good old low baller and the bid goes to $944.0 an hour for a B2!!!!!!!!!!! just after the annual meeteings.....that is $800.00 less than ASRD's very own published rates!!!! :down:

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