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seniority_list analysis example - Alaska and Virgin America integration proposals

Here are a few charts which display modeled outcomes for the proposals submitted by the two pilot groups. The results are estimates based on available input data, but they should be close enough to get a good idea of how things would go for each group under the two proposals.

The charts are arranged with time along the x axis and a job ranking scale on the y axis. On the right side you can see "Capt B" (captain, block or lineholder), "Capt R" (captain, reserve) etc. with colored horizontal job level bands for each of those categories. On the left side is a scale of numbers corresponding with a job value ranking within the overall combined list. Data for each employee group is "normalized" so that one combined scale can be used when looking at integrated results for each group separately. The ranking is ordered with the best jobs at the top.

The bands of lines on the charts starting on the left side of the chart and moving upward and to the right represent the median result for pilots within specific quantiles or bins which are set using the population at the date of the corporate merger. In these charts, the alaska and virgin pilot groups have each been split into 200 quantiles, or .5 percent bins. As the lines move through time to the right, the job ranking for each quantile group moves according to the advancement opportunities afforded by each proposal.

No bump no flush is honored within the models. While this does offer displacement protection (as long as the number of jobs does not decline), it does not protect relative position within each job level. The chart displaying the virgin group under the alaska proposal illustrates this clearly. Virgin pilots lose job value rank immediately due to disadvantageous list positioning and many would not advance for a few years while higher-ranked jobs are filled by alaska pilots holding lower ranking jobs but who are now more senior on the combined list. While the real-world results would likely be somewhat less severe because not all pilots would chose to commute to a seat, the modeled outcome does a good job of showing the bidding potential for all pilots well into the future, whether it is exercised or not.

The seniority_list program is not a prediction tool relating to who will choose to commute, pick lifestyle over seat, etc. It produces data models displaying how things would work out if everyone bid the max or best seat position possible at all times. It is, therefore, a very good indicator of how combined lists will affect the career opportunities for all employees on average.

These charts represent a tiny fraction of the capabilities of the seniority_list integration software program. It was designed specifically for airline pilot seniority integration and offers a transparent method to quantify, analyze, measure, and modify proposals with the goal of producing truly "fair and equitable" integrated solutions using modern data science.

seniority_list is an open-source program (free to use), written in the Python programming language.

The virgin pilot group outcome with the virgin proposal:

...lower initial job rank but ultimately accelerated advancement due to higher alaska attrition rate

virgin under virgin proposal

The alaska pilot group outcome with the virgin proposal:

...slightly higher initial job rank but ultimately slightly slower advancement and lower job rank attained prior to retirement due to lower virgin attrition rate

alaska under virgin proposal

The virgin pilot group outcome with the alaska proposal:

...much lower initial job rank for all and stagnated advancement for many virgin pilots

virgin under alaska proposal

The alaska pilot group outcome with the alaska proposal:

...higher initial and future job rank for the most of the alaska pilot group

alaska under alaska proposal


Neither proposal is optimal, with the alaska proposal particularily harmful to the virgin pilot group. The interactive editor feature and the extensive analysis capabilities of seniority_list could be used to rapidly build a modified integrated list solution which would be measureably much more fair and equitable in terms of outcome for both pilot groups. Conditions and restrictions could be added and tested by the program if required.