NRT, HKG and FRA FA Bases Closing

Old Jun 5, 20, 12:48 pm
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NRT, HKG and FRA FA Bases Closing

Just heard from a friend that they have internally communicated NRT, HKG and FRA bases will close in October, looks like LHR survived
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Old Jun 5, 20, 12:53 pm
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Sad but true. With significantly reduced flying due to COVID, plus longer-term trends of longhaul staffing cuts and no fifth-freedom routes (save for the return of HKG-SIN, which is not expected to be permanent), the international bases have been on borrowed time for a while. LHR gets a reprieve undoubtedly due to its large number of flights and high local hotel costs.

Hopefully some are able to transfer stateside as there are truly excellent FAs among them! I'm sure plenty would be inclined to accept early-outs, and these are pretty senior bases.

It's unclear if the company is still planning to cut domestic bases. Most FAs I talk to think CLE is on the block, along with the satellite bases, but time will tell.
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Old Jun 5, 20, 12:55 pm
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According to the union newsletter, HKG base has about 300. pmUA hired them late 1990s/early 2000s. Some may have transferred from the US when UA/CO contracts merged. Some are US citizens/residents, some non-US HKers, some became HKers because of this job. HKG seems to be the only base with no flights to work at all in the past months. HK Gov has extended the foreigner ban until Sep 18, so SFO-HKG-SIN may or may not come back.
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Old Jun 5, 20, 1:59 pm
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HKG base folks might be happy to have a reassignment to a different location.
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Old Jun 5, 20, 2:36 pm
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I started to fly to HKG more often in the past few years, and found those based crews to be amazing. I hope some of them are able to move base stateside, because it would be a shame to lose their professionalism and style.
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Old Jun 5, 20, 2:45 pm
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While Iím gutted for my colleagues, I canít say Iím surprised. The bases havenít seen transfers in years, and the overhead of such small bases has never really made sense (to me)

Having said that, I wish all of my flying partners in those bases well ó whether or not they continue to fly with UA, their lives are most certainly about to be upended.
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Old Jun 5, 20, 2:46 pm
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Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post

Hopefully some are able to transfer stateside as there are truly excellent FAs among them! I'm sure plenty would be inclined to accept early-outs, and these are pretty senior bases.
Transfers would be fairly limited though, wouldn't it? I know a FA in Honolulu based in NRT, so she can transfer. But if she was a Japanese National she wouldn't, correct?
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Old Jun 5, 20, 3:38 pm
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Transfers would be fairly limited though, wouldn't it? I know a FA in Honolulu based in NRT, so she can transfer. But if she was a Japanese National she wouldn't, correct?
Correct. Transfers would have to have the right to live and work in the U.S. (so citizens and green card holders). A lot of F/As in the non-U.S. domiciles are Americans who used to be based in the U.S. and transferred to a non-U.S. domicile (like maybe your HNL friend?). They will be able to transfer back to the U.S. if they want.

But most of the local hires won't be able to do that (again unless they have the right to live and work in the U.S.). They will be screwed, unless they could somehow manage to transfer to LHR (but it is unlikely LHR will be accepting transfers or displacements for a very long time given current international travel restrictions and resulting international flight reductions) and manage a commute from their home country to LHR, or move to the UK if they have the right to live there.

Even your HNL friend may have a challenge if she wants to be based back in HNL. That is an extremely senior domicile, and with the limited flights to HI now HNL might not be open to these displacements, at least at her seniority. So she might have to bump into another more junior domicile on the mainland for the foreseeable future if she wants to stay with UA.

Tough choices for a lot of people, sadly.
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Last edited by Bear96; Jun 5, 20 at 4:04 pm
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Old Jun 5, 20, 3:38 pm
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Transfers would be fairly limited though, wouldn't it? I know a FA in Honolulu based in NRT, so she can transfer. But if she was a Japanese National she wouldn't, correct?
As a former expat I would imagine she would need to have the necessary visa's. My friend at FRA was initially Paris based and transferred when they closed Paris, but being in EU just continuing to live in France and commuting.Without Brexit
you would have thought based on seniority that FRA FA's/staff could have moved to LHR which seems to drive who goes and stays.However Brexit now impacts this and I am not sure how big a deal (or not) it would turn out
to be to get a work permit for what essentially be an inter company transfer for an EU national which tends to be an easier path.The UK has also in the past week announced a range of measures limiting certain jobs deeming them non essential
to cut the numbers of people coming in.
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Old Jun 5, 20, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
Transfers would be fairly limited though, wouldn't it? I know a FA in Honolulu based in NRT, so she can transfer. But if she was a Japanese National she wouldn't, correct?
That is my understanding.

I don’t have the CBA in front of me right now but I believe the company must offer them a place in the remaining bases.

I haven’t seen the full text of the announcement for myself, but I wonder if they will all be allowed to transfer to LHR as the company does sponsor visas there, unlike the US bases (though if memory serves those visas are only good for a few years and aren’t renewable) Edit: Answered below

Last edited by fezzington; Jun 5, 20 at 7:37 pm
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Old Jun 5, 20, 3:53 pm
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HKG crew were awesome. Understandable, but it'll be a loss.
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Old Jun 5, 20, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
HKG base folks might be happy to have a reassignment to a different location.
Would they even be allowed to? They might have better luck trying to gain refugee status in Taiwan, although I'm not entirely sure they'd want to work for the airlines there. (I actually have no idea how much HKG base FAs got/get paid, to be fair.)
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Old Jun 5, 20, 4:02 pm
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From the UA F/A Union:
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today the company made an announcement that will impact our entire Flight Attendant community. The company provided the 90-day notice required in Section 17.D.1. of our Contract, announcing its intention to close the Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Narita domiciles, effective October 1, 2020.

This announcement is a shock for all of us and it will create tremendous uncertainty. In managementís announcement and the accompanying FAQ, the assertion that the company will not be making vacancies available in London is a source of serious concern to the leadership of the Union as we do not believe this is consistent with the requirements of the Contract. We have consulted with the MEC Grievance Committee and AFA Legal and we will ensure the company is made aware that we have a dispute.

In the meantime, we will be working with the Local Presidents at each of these locations, Michael Warner, Kim Johnson, and Tony Wetterer, respectively, to ensure the best advocacy for all of our affected Members. For those Members who are based in these locations, we encourage you to contact your Local President to share your questions and concerns prior to their meeting with United.

It is important that our solidarity and support remain focused on our Union brothers and sisters who will be directly impacted by these base closures. Please join the entire United Master Executive Council as we stand together in offering support and assistance to our friends and flying partners directly impacted by todayís announcement.

Expect to hear more from us later today.

In Solidarity,

The United Master Executive Council Officers
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Old Jun 5, 20, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
HKG base folks might be happy to have a reassignment to a different location.
If these were local hires, I don't think they would have the ability to just up and move to the US for their job. Even if there was a path, it would likely be paved with a barrage of obstacles.
Also not to get too political, but I don't think it's easy to paint everyone with the same brush and say moving away from their birthplace, friends, family, support system, home would be an easy and positive step.

Any job loss is going to be difficult for those involved. Shame
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Old Jun 5, 20, 4:20 pm
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That means one thing - UA will not resume HKG-SIN passenger service.
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