Thursday, October 16, 2008


Closures and rumors of closures.

Lockheed Martin is going to close some Flight Service Stations. During a telephone conference to facility managers yesterday, it was announced that five stations will close their doors on February 1st, 2009: Denver, Oakland, San Diego, Albuquerque and Macon. We all remember that the promised number of stations in the Lockheed Martin contracted Flight Service was 20. Today it is 18, and on next February 2nd it will be 13.

It was also announced that Flight Service is ‘over-staffed.’ Lockheed Martin will not say how many specialists there are. They will not say how many they want. Why either of these numbers should remain a secret is unexplained. But since a buy-out was announced a couple months ago, over 140 have left the ranks. We have no hard-and fast data, but we suspect that the current number of specialists is below 1000, likely closer to 900, and that is too many. Recall that in 2005, then-AOPA President Phil Boyer championed the LM contract over the internal government bid because one significant difference was that LM offered 1000 controllers, and the government bid offered ‘only’ 940. Snookered yet again, Mr. Boyer.

Because of this ‘overstaffing,’ after the above facilities are closed there will be a RIF should the unnamed staffing number not be reached.

One last item…it seems that specialists may have not been told the whole story today. Since there are a number of entities with an interest in this contract, a number of telephone conferences were held. We have it from a source that previously proved trustworthy that this is not the last of the planned closures. While details may vary, the general upshot is this…on October 1st of 2009, five of the remaining 13 facilities will close. By February of 2010, only 5 facilities will remain open…the three hubs (D.C., Forth Worth, and Prescott), Miami, and Honolulu. We’re hoping for more confirmation, but have little reason to doubt the basics of this.

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