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Air Canada VP Ben Smith hired for the Air France - KLM CEO position

Air Canada VP Ben Smith hired for the Air France - KLM CEO position

Old Aug 27, 18, 9:39 am
  #196  
 
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Originally Posted by longtimeflyin View Post
He's far more important than lowly pilots.

Yes cause you can replace all those pilots overnight without issue?? This is the mentality that has created massive gaps in worker compensation. The CEO should be paid 90% of the money while the people that actually do the functions of the company make the combined remains??

JAL CEO makes a very good living -- but does not make this kind of pay. The workers respect him for that. If Smith is so good then give him the kind of Deal Calin took -- smaller money up front. Big Stock options and then Reward/Retention bonuses at the 5+ year mark.

Smith did nothing to change the culture at Air Canada. Staff don't feel empowered by the Boss. They don't "follow" the Boss. They don't believe a word he says when that involves how it will benefit them -- They just believe it is good for the top level staff. Your talking about a guy that gave himself Red VIP status so he could even get his meal order before the SE100K members???? Sure that will go over well with showing your "team" that your a leader..........

Gave middle managers B1 passes after 6 months so they can go ahead of all other staff on Standby -- yeah you have been there 20+ years but your going to be waiting so that your "managers" get their vacations on passes.

Creates a program to try and go out and fire as many SDs or FAs since they are not getting in line with the Boss!!! Less Staff actually on the plane to service customers but still can afford to pay higher wages to have managers rate and grade workers based on what the Boss says they should be able to accomplish. Then have endless arbitrations on random Firings as well??

Yes the Lowly pilots and other workers that actually provide the service should be "honoured" to work for him and "take" whatever scraps he is willing to throw them......

Rant done -- maybe in a couple years with him gone and an improvement to the program I will come back to AC.....Until then I will continue to vote with my wallet....
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Old Aug 27, 18, 10:09 am
  #197  
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Originally Posted by YOWisHome View Post
Yes the Lowly pilots and other workers that actually provide the service should be "honoured" to work for him and "take" whatever scraps he is willing to throw them......
Pilots are already very well compensated, but that aside, a pilot may have 300 people's lives in their hands, while the CEO of an airline has millions upon millions of people's lives in (this case) his hands. Your rant has fallen on these deaf ears.
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Old Aug 27, 18, 10:17 am
  #198  
 
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Originally Posted by YOWisHome View Post
Smith did nothing to change the culture at Air Canada. Staff don't feel empowered by the Boss. They don't "follow" the Boss. They don't believe a word he says when that involves how it will benefit them -- They just believe it is good for the top level staff. Your talking about a guy that gave himself Red VIP status so he could even get his meal order before the SE100K members???? Sure that will go over well with showing your "team" that your a leader..........
I won't comment on labour relations with AC as I'm unaware of the goings on behind the scenes at the organizations.

I will say that to characterize that AC as an organization hasn't changed to better serve passengers, in particular premium passengers and super elites is, I think, wrong! I doubt few people on this board would say that they were treated better as an SE100K 5-10 years ago as they are today! From the expansion of concierge service to the introduction of SSLs to make their Intl J product be competitive with the likes of UA, much has changed in the organization to make it a friendlier operation. Speaking from my own experience, I've found that AC support has been proactive, rebooking my family hours before scheduled departure when a flight went MX. Does AC still have a ways to go in terms of customer service and consistency in applying *A policies? Absolutely! This is one of the many reasons why I stick with UA when flying domestically and in general. Knowing that there will be someone there to rebook you when your red-eye goes sideways is something I can count on with UA but cannot with AC, especially at an outstation like SFO. However, AC has been making positive strides in the pax experience department for sometime and it's unfair to say that Mr. Smith's presence hasn't been noticed by fellow AC loyalists and travellers.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Aug 27, 18, 1:59 pm
  #199  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
I doubt few people on this board would say that they were treated better as an SE100K 5-10 years ago as they are today! From the expansion of concierge service
I think you need to have a stroll through the archives here to see what the service used to be. Expansion of the concierge service? Everything here has been how now you have to call a 1-800 number and you used to have direct numbers, and also be able to talk to an actual person at the airport. I won't even talk about what the concierge service was like in the CP days. Read some of Ken Hamers post for how elites used to be treated, and today is a shadow of it's former self.
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Old Aug 27, 18, 9:36 pm
  #200  
 
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Originally Posted by longtimeflyin View Post
Pilots are already very well compensated, but that aside, a pilot may have 300 people's lives in their hands, while the CEO of an airline has millions upon millions of people's lives in (this case) his hands. Your rant has fallen on these deaf ears.
The "rant" as you call it, has certainly fallen onto ears connected to heads nodding in agreement. Anecdotally, my friends who fly for AC, and others who work for AC on the ground are not enamoured by the current executive, and that includes a certain large-eared soon-to-be former VP.

The issue of pilot compensation has always been misunderstood by those unfamiliar with the tenure of senior captains, how long it may have taken them to achieve those levels of pay, and the many years of below-the-line income they endured prior to occupying the left seat of a 777. Ask the 2nd year E175 FO how well compensated she is. Tell me why the Jazz Q400 captain earns less than a city bus driver.

A good CEO builds a corporate culture, an ordinary CEO focuses upon share value and a poor CEO does neither. Initial compensation for an inbound leader should be a modest guarantee, followed by increased reward as the corporate culture improves to the point which ensures share value, safety/OTP records, customer/employee satisfaction and overall peace perform likewise. Smith is no messiah; he seems the latest in a line of cookie-cutter executives to try and turn the fortunes of long-established carriers with no shortage of internal strife. An airline doesn't have to dig so deep into their coffers to attract the type of ordinary talent Smith offers.

Pay him a million euros, and heap on cash bonuses only after AF/KLM achieves measurable improvements. And let's not fool ourselves into believing an airline CEO is directly responsible for a single life, any more than the owner of a taxi company is.
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Old Aug 27, 18, 10:56 pm
  #201  
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Originally Posted by CZAMFlyer View Post
And let's not fool ourselves into believing an airline CEO is directly responsible for a single life, any more than the owner of a taxi company is.
absolutely wrong, ICAO advocates for and has adopted the Reason Model (after James Reason, Professor at Manchester University) - many know this as the "Swiss Cheese" model that understands that failures are pretty much always a series of system failures.

http://www.safetyleaders.org/sup

When I earned my commercial-instrument rating nearly 4 decades ago, remember being taught exactly what you are saying...since then the industry has completely moved away from such narrow thinking to a Collaborative Decision Making Model, recognizing that a successful flights requires numerous moving parts to all be going in the same direction at the same time - and that can't happen if the entire airline team is not aligned.

Yes, PIC can make catastrophic error, but that error may have started in the hiring process, inadequate training, operational policies that create conflicts in the cockpit, scheduling that undermines alertness, etc, etc, etc... What Professor Reason has done for us all is to point out the fundamental error in thinking that failures can be individualized, and instead a new model has been adopted that is telling by the significant reduction in accidents in past 4o years.

AF is a remarkably safe airline given the scale of its operations far larger than AC - Mr. Smith is definitely a responsible safety manager, just like anyone who decides what resources are put in front of a customer.
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Last edited by skybluesea; Aug 27, 18 at 10:57 pm Reason: add uni
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Old Aug 27, 18, 11:17 pm
  #202  
 
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Originally Posted by skybluesea View Post
absolutely wrong, ICAO advocates for and has adopted the Reason Model (after James Reason, Professor at Manchester University) - many know this as the "Swiss Cheese" model that understands that failures are pretty much always a series of system failures.

http://www.safetyleaders.org/sup

When I earned my commercial-instrument rating nearly 4 decades ago, remember being taught exactly what you are saying...since then the industry has completely moved away from such narrow thinking to a Collaborative Decision Making Model, recognizing that a successful flights requires numerous moving parts to all be going in the same direction at the same time - and that can't happen if the entire airline team is not aligned.

Yes, PIC can make catastrophic error, but that error may have started in the hiring process, inadequate training, operational policies that create conflicts in the cockpit, scheduling that undermines alertness, etc, etc, etc... What Professor Reason has done for us all is to point out the fundamental error in thinking that failures can be individualized, and instead a new model has been adopted that is telling by the significant reduction in accidents in past 4o years.

AF is a remarkably safe airline given the scale of its operations far larger than AC - Mr. Smith is definitely a responsible safety manager, just like anyone who decides what resources are put in front of a customer.
Agree 100% here. If we look back at one of the most notorious AC mess ups, the so called "Gimli Glider" event, the incident was caused by a serious of mistakes from maintenance pulling out the breaker in a fuel gauge, poor documentation on the 767 due to it being just launched, political: we just moved from imperial measure to metric and consequently poor training by ground crew and pilots on this change, resulting in the insufficient fuel being loaded. The only thing that saved that flight was the fact that the PIC was an experienced glider pilot and had knowledge of airfields in the area from his time serving in the military.

If we view AC management through this lens then we would have to give them a C at best. One could look at the runway incursions that happened twice at SFO in the span of a couple of weeks last year (AC 781 and AC 759). The San Jose Mercury has a good write up on these mess ups. I won't even go into the times where I had to fight with AC to get something I'm entitled to per *A policy. IMHO AC is in a very complacent position, neither do they have the intense competition to force them to provide a better service nor are they lackadaisical enough to cause the travelling public (and most importantly FFs and VIPs) to scream blue murder!

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Aug 28, 18, 10:00 am
  #203  
 
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While I am intimately familiar with the Swiss Cheese and Links in a Chain theories and other aspects of aviation safety, I recognize the limits of the most well-intentioned corporate culture and the ability of even the most proficient senior executives in preventing accidents. I agree a culture (of safety) permeates throughout an organization, though not necessarily from top-down. Indeed, it's quite often the middle management and line supervision that have more direct impacts on enhancing/reducing the chance of adverse occurrence. Bad things happen to good airlines. Conversely, we also have airlines with abysmal regard to safety somehow managing to muddle through without frequent and serious incidents, likely thanks due to aircraft design, parts/procedural redundancy, regulatory oversight, individual skill and blind luck.

My point remains that notion of "the lives of millions are in his hands" is problematic, and senior executives should not be compensated as if they could prevent tragedy.
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Old Aug 28, 18, 10:04 am
  #204  
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Originally Posted by CZAMFlyer View Post
While I am intimately familiar with the Swiss Cheese and Links in a Chain theories and other aspects of aviation safety, I recognize the limits of the most well-intentioned corporate culture and the ability of even the most proficient senior executives in preventing accidents. I agree a culture (of safety) permeates throughout an organization, though not necessarily from top-down. Indeed, it's quite often the middle management and line supervision that have more direct impacts on enhancing/reducing the chance of adverse occurrence. Bad things happen to good airlines. Conversely, we also have airlines with abysmal regard to safety somehow managing to muddle through without frequent and serious incidents, likely thanks due to aircraft design, parts/procedural redundancy, regulatory oversight, individual skill and blind luck.

My point remains that notion of "the lives of millions are in his hands" is problematic, and senior executives should not be compensated as if they could prevent tragedy.
Senior executives are also responsible for a multi billion $ company, lest you forget the business that a senior executive is responsible for, versus the complete lack or almost complete lack of business acumen required for a line pilot. If we're going to talk about compensation, then we might as well talk about the real people that ensure planes are safe - e.g. the mechanics and others.

Nonetheless, we live in a "relatively" free society, and pay is determined using market forces. If you or I could be a pilot that pays $3 million a year, then fantastic, but let's call a spade a spade here, that doesn't happen for the very reason that there are several more qualified pilots than there are senior executives like Mr. Smith.

My last comment on this as we are getting dangerously off topic.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 6:34 pm
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Not sure how much credit can go to the new CEO.

KLM, Dutch pilots agree on labor deal | Labor content from ATWOnline

Netherlands-based pilots union VNV said it has reached a deal in principle on a new collective labor agreement with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and would not plan any more strikes while awaiting approval from its members’ council.

The news removes one short-term strike threat from the Air France-KLM group, which is still facing the prospect of walkouts by Air France employees over an ongoing pay dispute likely to be reignited by the arrival this month of new CEO Benjamin Smith.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 8:10 pm
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Originally Posted by tracon View Post
Not sure how much credit can go to the new CEO.

KLM, Dutch pilots agree on labor deal Labor content from ATWOnline

Netherlands-based pilots union VNV said it has reached a deal in principle on a new collective labor agreement with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and would not plan any more strikes while awaiting approval from its members council.

The news removes one short-term strike threat from the Air France-KLM group, which is still facing the prospect of walkouts by Air France employees over an ongoing pay dispute likely to be reignited by the arrival this month of new CEO Benjamin Smith.
Job done.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 8:38 pm
  #207  
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Originally Posted by tracon View Post
Netherlands-based pilots union VNV said it has reached a deal in principle on a new collective labor agreement with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and would not plan any more strikes while awaiting approval from its members council.
That is good news regardless of where credit goes.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 9:43 pm
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Originally Posted by tracon View Post
Not sure how much credit can go to the new CEO.
Has he even started the new job yet? I though it was announced that he would take the position by Sept 30.
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Old Sep 5, 18, 5:37 am
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Good luck to Air France et KLM!
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Old Sep 12, 18, 3:54 pm
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FlightGlobal - Sept 11 2018

QUOTE:

"In a world where inward-looking political sensibilities are zeitgeist, the appointment of Canadian national Ben Smith as the new chief executive of Air France - KLM was a welcome surprise."

Free subscription required

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...-trend-451747/
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