Just when you thought implementation of the new contract was going (relatively) smoothly…
According to the Contract Implementation Schedule, Open Time was scheduled for implementation in July for the August bid month. Unfortunately, AFA received notice from management yesterday that implementation of the new Open Time trading system will be delayed at least one month.
You may access an electronic copy of the notice (that lists all the technical reasons for the delay) here.
Reasons why it is taking so long
AFA has participated in almost all of the implementation meetings and updates and we can assure you that management and Jeppesen (the provider of Maestro and eMaestro) have been working on updating the crew tracking and trading system ever since the contract ratified. There are several reasons why it is taking so long to reprogram the system:
- Alaska will begin transitioning to a new crew tracking system later next year but until then we have to manage to get along with our current system.
- Maestro/eMaestro is antiquated and fragile. All parties are being cautious with any changes because there is concern that significant new programming will destabilize the system enough to completely crash it. For those of you who have been around long enough, can you imagine having to go back to email trades? Not good!
- There are very few programmers left at Jeppesen who even work with the underlying framework of Maestro/eMaestro. Only two carriers use this system (one being Alaska). That means there are limited resources that can be allocated to reprogramming.
AFA and management believe it is prudent to wait another month
Alaska Airlines management and AFA do not want to go live with a new Open Time trading system that has the possibility of crashing not only Open Time but also electronic trip trading in general. Although this is a disappointing development, we want the new Open Time system to be a success. Therefore AFA and management believe it is prudent to wait another month in order to provide more time to properly debug the system. As a reminder, the trial period of the new Open Time trading system begins once the system is actually implemented.
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Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Gesch, Becky Strachan, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Sandra Morrow, Stephen Couckuyt; and MEC Scheduling chairperson Jake Jones