Ben Smith: Some insights on the future

Old Oct 29, 2018, 8:40 pm
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Ben Smith: Some insights on the future

The AF crisis has found a temporary solution and relations between the new CEO and unions seem good.
But new salary discussions are on the way.

There was an interesting article in Les Echos:
https://www.lesechos.fr/idees-debats...th-2216645.php

I do not know if these "gossips" are correct, but they make a lot of sense to me. To summarize:
- "plethoric" management staffing. Maybe half the positions could be axed. Smith points to a much greater integration of KL and AF management.
- AFKL must focus on its two established brands, AF and KL.He does not understand the growth of the "additional" brands Joon, HOP! and Tansavia which are poorly understood by clients.He has strong doubts about a longhaul LCC.
- "harmonize" the fleet. A350 for AF and 787 for KL.Too many different short/medium haul planes.
- "doubts" about retrofitting A380s. This could lead to the removal of A380 from the fleet.
-
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 2:14 am
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Very interesting article indeed, and full of good sense.
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 3:44 am
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Originally Posted by brunos
.
- "doubts" about retrofitting A380s. This could lead to the removal of A380 from the fleet.
-
This would be sad.

They really need retrofitting but I still enjoy an A380 flight.
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 8:49 am
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Agreed. For those of us who travel always on leisure and pay for the tickets, the A380 is great for the quietness and space and I happily pay for it. The 10-across 777......less so ! But I work in Finance and also understand the A380 is a nightmare to fill and operate profitably......but keep it !
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 9:33 am
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Ben Smith is asking the questions that anyone with common sense in that function would. When we had some fun in the forums asking these questions - the sense of JOON, the fragmentation of the fleet, the incoherent brand portfolio, etc - some people probably laughed at us as armchair CEOs. And we were. But still we weren't wrong ;-)
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 9:54 am
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OH yess.... please please get rid of JOON, Hop, Skip, and whatever fancy subsidiary that has come up...also please please improve Premium Economy both HW and SW - not worth the value especially if paying out of your own pocket.
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 10:01 am
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Finally some common sense coming out of Roissy!
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo
Ben Smith is asking the questions that anyone with common sense in that function would. When we had some fun in the forums asking these questions - the sense of JOON, the fragmentation of the fleet, the incoherent brand portfolio, etc - some people probably laughed at us as armchair CEOs. And we were. But still we weren't wrong ;-)
Canuck here from across the pond who has known of Ben Smith for over 20 years and even talked with the man a few times on Flyertalk and in real life.

Ben Smith was originally hired into Air Canada in 1998 by then VP of Network Scheduling Robert Milton (Robert would eventually lead AC, Air Asia X, and Chairman of UA). Robert met Ben at a travel agent convention and was impressed by Ben's ability to point out armchair airline CEO improvement ideas. One of the first things Ben did at AC was to restructure the hourly shuttle service (YYZ-YUL, YYZ-YOW, YYZ-LGA) so that flights either left on the hour or on the half hour. Previously the schedule was created for operational efficiency with flights every 1:15. These simple from a customer perspective improvements are Ben Smith's core wheelhouse.
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 10:43 am
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Originally Posted by WR Cage
One of the first things Ben did at AC was to restructure the hourly shuttle service (YYZ-YUL, YYZ-YOW, YYZ-LGA) so that flights either left on the hour or on the half hour. Previously the schedule was created for operational efficiency with flights every 1:15. These simple from a customer perspective improvements are Ben Smith's core wheelhouse.
Departures at the same minute every hour? That is how Air France La Navette *used* to work, but for efficiency reasons they moved away from that model. Efficiency of AF that is, not efficiency of customers. But it's a French thing. Keeping matters simple (plane at same minute past the hour, from the same gate(s); or TGVs at the same minute past the hour from the same platform), nope, too intuitive, too much thinking from a customer's (usager!) perspective.

So far, I like what I see of the guy. Let's see when we reach the point where he'll do things that make perfect sense, but we won't like (such as life time Plat for 35 year olds). But until, then, let's wish him luck and a strong ability to move things.
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 11:26 am
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo
... such as life time Plat for 35 year olds ...
Huh?!!!! Some fellow FB Platinum FT members are still under 30, so
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Last edited by Sjondorn; Oct 30, 2018 at 1:35 pm
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Sjondorn
Huh?!!!! Some fellow FB Platinum FT members are still under 30, so

I am not entirely certain whether I understood which point you are trying to make. Mine is that giving lifelong status to somebody very young age is potentially a liability for the airline as the person still has more than half a century to live.
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Old Oct 30, 2018, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo
I am not entirely certain whether I understood which point you are trying to make. Mine is that giving lifelong status to somebody very young age is potentially a liability for the airline as the person still has more than half a century to live.
Obviously my point is, provided that I'll retain platinum status for the whole time, I'd become platinum for life at age 36 ... and yes, I'm going to find 50+ years of the status for free definitely enjoyable

Last edited by Sjondorn; Oct 30, 2018 at 5:25 pm
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Old Oct 31, 2018, 5:19 am
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Originally Posted by Sjondorn
Obviously my point is, provided that I'll retain platinum status for the whole time, I'd become platinum for life at age 36 ... and yes, I'm going to find 50+ years of the status for free definitely enjoyable
Yeah I am in the same boat as you.

I understand the Lifetime status thing can be tough for the company...they could do it perhaps closer to M&M with their senator status where it only kicks in at retirement age.If this was the case it would most certainly affect my loyalty.
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Old Oct 31, 2018, 5:32 am
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo
So far, I like what I see of the guy. Let's see when we reach the point where he'll do things that make perfect sense, but we won't like (such as life time Plat for 35 year olds). But until, then, let's wish him luck and a strong ability to move things.
Past CEOs had resorted to various twisted plans to avoid antagonizing unions too much. In the last one, and rather than going to a mixed-fleet concept a la BA, they created JOON where the only benefit is a cheaper FA structure but the brand disadvantages are obvious. Simple concepts are not in the French spirit of complex compromises. Let's hope that Ben Smith acts swiftly to take advantage of his good image. It seems that most French employees and politicians do not realize how much AF brand has suffered abroad, and possibly domestically.
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Old Oct 31, 2018, 7:30 am
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Originally Posted by Sjondorn
Obviously my point is, provided that I'll retain platinum status for the whole time, I'd become platinum for life at age 36 ... and yes, I'm going to find 50+ years of the status for free definitely enjoyable
Originally Posted by Lewis42
Yeah I am in the same boat as you.

I understand the Lifetime status thing can be tough for the company...they could do it perhaps closer to M&M with their senator status where it only kicks in at retirement age.If this was the case it would most certainly affect my loyalty.
Same here! I already have 5 years guaranteed, hopefully, I can make the 10 years work. The change to the XP system worked very well in my favour!
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