Piedmont fleet goes 'First Class' for 1987
Piedmont will offer first class service on every
aircraft in our fleet by early summer. The conver
sion will enable us to continue to compete effec
tively with other major carriers.
■'Piedmont intends to offer the most attractive
service and amenities to our frequent flyers and
business travelers.” Bill Howard, president and
chief executive officer, said.
"Piedmont will offer not just first class, but the
best first class service in the industry. The first
class cabin will enable Piedmont to upgrade our
passengers from coach to first, an important
marketing advantage in today's competitive
The decision to convert the fleet to a dual
configuration was made in August after a five-
member task force—headed by Tfed Phillips,
director-schedule planning—spent several
months analyzing the benefits and costs.
"Virtually every department worked closely
with us in gathering information for the study."
Phillips said. "It was certainly a team effort. We
had to determine if first class would generate a
profit as well as evaluate what it would mean
competitively if we did not install first class in
"Other carriers are creating hubs, such as
those at Raleigh/Durham and at Dulles, which
are in direct competition with our services. We
concluded that to continue to attract the full fare
passenger, we should offer first class. In addition,
we determined that the revenue we would receive
from first class would pay for the expenses
incurred in providing the service."
The aircraft modification program, which will
begin in mid-January, will be spread over our
maintenance facilities at GSO. INT, and UCA
w'ith the bulk of the work done at GSO-MM
where 21 employees will be added to help with
the project. By the time the modification project
is completed, these new employees will be
needed to help with maintenance on our growing
fleet. Sixty-two of the modifications will coin
cide with the scheduled maintenance plan and
the remaining aircraft will be rotated through
"The F28s and 737-300s can be modified
virtually overnight." George Mason, staff vice
president-maintenance planning and administra
tion. said. "It will take four shifts to accomplish
the modification on the 727-200s and 737-200s.
We will have a 737-200 dedicated to the project
from January 15 to March 31 and a 727-200.
from April 1 to April 30,"
All of the aircraft, except for the F28s, will be
equipped with ovens, and the F28s will have
upgraded meal service for longer (lights.
Phillips added: "Because our F28 flight seg
ments are relatively short, we will be limited as
to what we can offer in first class. But we will
be able to offer our F28 passengers larger sea(s.
cabin seclusion, free beverages, more attention
and service, and, on longer flights, meal sci'vice."
Ti'aining of station agents, flight attendants,
and reservations agents will be accomiilishcd
in two phases. Beginning in December, these
employees will begin taking part in a training
course which will explain the transition proce
dures. A second phase, which will be more com
prehensive, is planned lor the spring.
"Wc will not try to im|)lemcn( the new first
class program until the entire fleet has been con
verted." Phillips explained. "Rather, we'll use this
transition period to introduce frequeiit flyers and
full fare customers to our new service by selec
tively upgrading them at the gale at no extra
"We plan to offer first class service in every
facet of our operation, including reservations,
check-in. inflight, and at the final destination,"
Howard said. ""Although we jjlan to provide flrst
class service second to none in the industry, let
me emphasize that we are also committed to re
taining our current level of coach service.
" We are undertaking an ambitious project,
but one we believe will allow us to continue to
volume 37, number 10 November 1986
$90 million CLT growth plan announced
Piedmont and the Charlotte Airport Authority
unveiled November 10 plans for a large, multi
million dollar operations and maintenance
facility which will support our new B-767 main
tenance program as well as house a stock dis
tribution center and a crew training building
with a state-of-the-art 737-300/400 simulator
In addition, the planned expansion of Char
lotte's terminal building announced by Pied
mont last June has been revised to give us big
ger and better facilities. Add to these projects
the current renovation of Charlotte's old termi
nal building for cargo and catering, and the
total cost tops $90 million, funded primarily by
the City of Charlotte through revenue bonds.
By late 1988, when all three projects are com
pleted. more than 4,000 Piedmont employees
will call Charlotte home and, the airport, which
now ranks among the lop 10 hubs nationally in
terms of passengers boarded, will be one of the
top five hubs in the country.
Piedmont sets 31 gates
In new terminal design
Piedmont’s major expan
sion program at Charlotte,
announced last June, has
developed into an even
more ambitious project
which will give us a total of
31 gates—four more than
the airport's two primary
"When Eastern an
nounced on July 31 that
the airline would sharply
curtail flights to Charlotte
on October 1, "Piedmont
immediately agreed to
assume the leasehold obli
gations that Eastern is
abandoning at the airport,"
Leonard Martin, senior vice
"‘We then looked at ways
we might better design our
facilities to incorporate
Eastern’s concourse. The
results, I believe, will give
us one of the best designed
major hubs in the country.
'"In fact, the new design
couldn’t be better. If we
had been building the
Charlotte complex from
ground zero, this is as close
as we could come to an
ideal arrangement in terms
of operations and passen
ger movement,” Martin
continued page 5
Safety guards de
signed by employ
ees, page 2.
Our on-time Shut
tle, page 4.
One of the best
in the industry,
B-767 maintenance facility.
Stores, training site due
Construction of a new
$40 million operations and
maintenance facility —
designed to support our
major hub operation and
the new 767-200s which
will begin arriving next
year—will begin March I
at Charlotte Douglas Inter
national Airport, with com
pletion set for late 1988.
The facility will house a
large maintenance hangar,
a parts distribution center
and a base for crew training.
In addition, maintenance
will soon be provided at
gates on each of our con
courses. By 1990, our
growth in maintenance
alone will create 540 jobs
at Charlotte with more
opportunities opening as
Piedmont’s needs grow. All
of these jobs at Charlotte
are new jobs expanding
our work force rather than
major relocations of exist
ing maintenance personnel.
Our large maintenance
facilities at INT and GSO
will continue to operate
with the focus more on
"Charlotte’s new opera
tions and maintenance
facility is an outgrowth of
two system demands,” Gor
don Bethune, senior vice
continued page 5