Transportation & Logistics International - Winter 2017 - 27
Today's airline passengers have shown a preference for jet
aircraft over turboprop engines. Jets are considered to be
faster, quieter and more modern. So when it came time for
regional operator Piedmont Airlines to replace its aging but
dependable Bombardier Dash 8 turboprops, it's no surprise
American selected the Brazil-made Embraer-145 jets.
The jets began entering service for Piedmont American
Eagle Routes in February 2016. The planes have updated
interiors that adhere to the new standards set by American Airlines. The company has added 13 jets so far and
its remaining 34 turboprop planes will be phased out and
replaced by the end of 2018.
The switchover in aircraft means a totally new training regimen for Piedmont's pilots, flight attendants and
maintenance technicians. Embraer is on site working with
Piedmont employees to learn the new systems. The airline
Being a part of the American Airlines network also helps
Piedmont in its recruiting push. On top of the incentives
and bonuses Piedmont provides, its pilots can flow directly
to an American Airlines position once they reach seniority,
without having to go through the parent company's application process. "After spending five years here at Piedmont
you're well-equipped to move on to our parent company if
you choose to go," Hogg says.
The investment Piedmont is making in its employees
through training and incentives is a reflection of American Airlines commitment to upgrades. American Airlines
recently debuted a new baggage retrieval area at the Philadelphia Airport's express terminal, which acts as one of
Piedmont's primary hubs.
At the Charlotte Douglass Airport, the company's other
hub, American Airlines is embarking on an expansion of
its terminal that will place jetways at every gate so that passengers don't have to board on the tarmac, and increase the
number of walkways and escalators.
itself invested in several upgrades at its training facility in
Charlotte, N.C., including new flight simulators, a new cabin
trainer and desktop devices in classrooms to teach pilots
and flight attendants how to react in any situation.
"We're going to be training pilots for many years to
come and we want to be the best at it," Piedmont CEO and
President Lyle Hogg says of the investment. "Not only is
it improving the training the employees receive but it also
shows we're investing in the future of Piedmont Airlines.
Envoy Air as one of three wholly owned subsidiaries within American Airlines.
Piedmont now services American Airlines hubs in
Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C., and operates 400 daily
departures to more than 50 cities primarily on the East
Coast. More than 3 million people fly with Piedmont
each year, and its ground crews serve more than 5 million
passengers. "American's position as a strong domestic
and international carrier creates many opportunities for
Piedmont," Hogg says.
The cities Piedmont serves typically have small airports.
In many locations, such as Salisbury and Hilton Head, S.C.,
Piedmont is the only airline to serve the community. The
average flight distance is 140 miles and most trips clock in
at less than one hour. Hogg says that gives the airline a special significance to local residents, who would otherwise
have to drive long distances for air service.
WINTER 2017 TLIMAGAZINE.COM