North Carolina Newspapers

    Retired Captains Leon Fox (on steps) and
“Hoss” Dobbins, who piloted Piedmont’s
first flight 40 yeeirs ago, were just two of
the hundreds of employees who were on
hand February 20 at Wilmington to cele
brate the Jiirline’s 40th birthday. For more
photos of the day’s festivities, turn to
page 7.
USAir orders 50 Boeing 737 jets
On March 3, USAir announced an order for 50
Boeing 737 aircraft and options on 30 more. If all
the options are exercised, the value to the total
transaction will be approximately $2.5 billion.
USAir Chairman and President Edwin 1. Colod-
ny said “that the order is indicative of the health
and vitality of USAir. Our track record made it
possible to order these new aircraft which will
benefit our passengers and the communities we
Of the 50 orders, 20 are for the popular Series
300 model. The remaining 30 orders will include
more Series 300s or a combination of Series
300s, 400s, or 500s. Selection by USAir of spe
cific models included in the 30 options will also
be made later. Delivery of the 50 aircraft will
begin in April 1989 and will be completed by De
cember 1991.
Cumulatively, the airlines of USAir Group have
the largest 737 fleet in the world, totaling 167
aircraft. In addition to its current fleet of 23 120-
seat Series 200s, USAir operates 42 Series 300s
with orders on six more aircraft. Piedmont oper
ates 39 Series 300s and 62 Series 200s. Pied
mont was the launch customer for the Series
400, first of which is to be delivered in Septem
ber 1988. Piedmont has placed firm orders for 20
Series 400s. Piedmont also has orders for eight
Series 300s for delivery by August 1988.
Selected to power the newly-ordered 737-300s
is the CFM International, Inc. CFM56-3-B2 en
gine, identical to those on the current fleet of
USAir 737-300S. The Series 400, which can ac
commodate 156 passengers in a single-class con
figuration, is Boeing’s newest version of the 737
family of aircraft. It is scheduled for certification
by the FAA in September 1988. The series 500 is
a smaller version and is scheduled for late 1989
roll-out and certification.
Did you know?
The best-selling commercial jet in his
tory. Boeing's 737, celebrated its 20th an
niversary of passenger service February 10.
The original twinjet, which made the first
revenue flight in Germany for Lufthansa,
is still operating daily as the flagship of
Ansett New Zealand, a regional carrier
based in Auckland. Currently, 1.466 Boe
ing 737s are operating in nearly every
country of the world, and Boeing antici
pates its 2,000th order by mid-year 1988.
By year-end 1988, USAir and Piedmont
are projected to operate a combined total
of 189 737's.
Volume 39, number 2 March 1988
'800' line draws
1300 questions
Seven of the 39 reservationists assigned to record the incoming questions on the “800'
number are (1 to r) Betsy Butner, Runella Hayes, Alinda Owens, Jean Jones, Brenda Smoot,
Judy Parker, eind Barbara Gwyn.
There are lots of questions to be answered in
putting together a merger of two airlines as large
as Piedmont and USAir. Not surprisingly, many
of the questions are from employees.
What color will the aircraft be?
I was in reservations as a part-time agent for
three years, then full-time for five years. How
much seniority will I have in this classification?
My daughter is beginning orthodontic treat
ment. It will last over a year. Does USAir have
dental insurance to cover this? If part of the
work is done now, and part after the merger,
who will pay?
These questions, and 1,300 more much like
them, came flooding in when an “800” number
for use by interested Piedmont employees went
into service at INTRO on February 15. The ques
tions, and the volume of questions asked, are
probably a story in themselves. But, how the line
came to exist and how the questions are an
swered are equally interesting tales.
“In January it became increasingly obvious that
our employees were growing concerned about the
merger,’’ David Workman, vice president-human
resources, said. “It probably had more to do with
the fact that some other airline mergers, most nota
bly those at Texas Air Corporation, had been beset
with many problems, and that large numbers of
workers had suffered badly. We felt our personnel
needed an opportunity to ventilate these concerns
and, in turn, we needed a vehicle that clearly dem
onstrated that their concerns were not only being
heard, but also being addressed.’’
Chairman Bill McGee assigned to Human Re
sources and Public Affairs the responsibility of
setting up such a program.
Service pins for part-timers
. . .story, page 9
Representatives of these departments, along
with communications and reservations, met to
explore alternatives.
It first became clear that the quickest and
most economic employee “feedback” system
would be telephone lines. The system also had to
be operated without a financial burden on the
concerned employees.
The solution: A toll-free 800 "WATS number
reachable from any location on the domestic
Piedmont system.
Dohn Kivett, manager-voice network, com
puter and communications services, quickly ar
ranged for eight such lines into INTRO. Four of
the lines were dedicated to callers within the
state of North Carolina, with the remainder serv
ing the rest of the U.S. system. The lines were in
place and ready on the announced February 15
startup date.
“We enjoy a talented pool of individuals skilled in
telephone communications at our reservations of
fice,” Don Shanks, vice president-customer rela
tions, said. “We felt they could best understand
the issues our own employees would want to dis
cuss and most accurately forward those ques
tions to our corporate headquarters close by. We
selected a very dedicated group of 39 reserva
tionists and put them through a brief, but inten
sive, program to handle these calls.”
continued on page 6

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