ADF strongly opposes Home Dispatching

flynryan692

Well-Known Member
I did not read the TWU letter. Some of the questions are sort of ridiculous, some are very valid, it would've been nice if ADF had taken the same route and asked good questions instead of jumping to "it's bad mmkay".

- What oversight will the FAA excise to ensure that at-home workstations are meeting the requirements of 14 CFR 121.99, including access to an uninterrupted power supply? If an at-home workstation does not or cannot meet these minimums due to the location of a dispatcher’s home or their local infrastructure, will the FAA bar the air carrier from assigning that dispatcher to work from home? Does the FAA expect each air carrier to provide at-home workstations capable of meeting federal minimums to each dispatcher?
There isn't a requirement for a UPS, although it is a good point and should be looked at. There is a list of requirements and an agreement that must be signed, if you can't meet those requirements you are not allowed to dispatch from home.

- What steps are necessary to secure dispatchers’ homes to a level consistent with FAA and TSA requirements for safety-sensitive personnel and equipment? What steps are necessary to secure dispatchers’ workstations and internet infrastructure from cyber threats? Is the airline or the dispatcher responsible for maintaining these levels? If it is a shared responsibility, which party is responsible for which aspects?
There is a list of security requirements that have to be agreed to and met in the manual. I'd post them but I am not sure if it is ok to do, so I'll leave it that, there are procedures in place for this. The actual connection uses home internet as a backbone, which is probably highly susceptible to attack, but the dispatching is done through a secure VPN. I think the worst anybody can do is attack the home network but it'd be extremely difficult to compromise anything going through the VPN, you'd really just end up with no connection and need to go into the office. Software doesn't work off of the VPN.

- How will FAA inspectors, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials, and Aircraft Operator Security Coordinators perform their duties with regard to at-home dispatchers?
Inspectors have full access to releases, and if they need to perform surveillance they can do so by accessing whatever logged data they need, discussions can be held over phone, and screen share. I think they may have the ability to IM as well, but I'm not sure.

- What distraction mitigation procedures does the FAA believe need to be in place for at-home dispatchers? Will the airlines be responsible for establishing and enforcing these practices? What role does the FAA see itself playing to ensure distraction does not become a safety concern for at-home dispatchers?
There are listed requirements for this that are also part of the signed agreement. They include but are not limited to working in a quiet distraction free environment, having a sturdy desk and appropriate chair, etc. You have to agree to these things to dispatch from home to begin with, and they do verify it. Can somebody lie? Sure, but they can also pull up random phones calls through the day and listen for background noise like a TV, screaming kids, etc.

- Will the FAA identify dispatchers’ homes as mobile unit under an aeronautical enroute station? Will dispatchers be required to maintain commercial RTO certificates to perform their duties at home?
This is a ridiculous question.

- How will drug and alcohol testing be conducted for at-home dispatchers? What standard will be used to establish “reasonable suspicion” before testing individuals?
It's become clear this is done differently at different shops. For us I don't think it changes, they notify, you go, end of story. Suspecting an on-duty dispatcher is under the influence is likely much harder, but I don't think it's impossible. They should maybe put in place periodic phone check ins in my opinion.

- Has the FAA approved changes to these air carriers’ safety management systems to account for operational changes necessitated by moving dispatchers to a remote location? What other steps has the FAA taken to ensure that this change will not have a domino effect to other safety-related regulations?
All SMS processes and procedures continue as normal. There could potentially be a need for changes, but I don't think it stops dispatching from home in its tracks.

I'll be very interested to see the FAA response to these questions, because a lot of them don't seem to have been considered at all. It feels like at Skywest the PDI said, "The airline wants to do this, so let's approve it ASAP" before looking at all of the potential safety and legal issues.
It should now feel like most of these actually have been addressed, and the PDI did not in fact say "The airline wants to do this, so let's approve it ASAP" because that didn't happen.
 

QXDX

Well-Known Member
I didn’t think about the secure location aspect of it until now. Yes people can lock their houses,but SOC/NOC/IOCs are access controlled to only allow authorized personnel in. What’s to stop Dispatcher Matt from having a couple buddies over on an off day and allowing them into the “SOC” unsupervised.


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Professionalism and responsibility.
 

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
As having a UPS is is a requirement for ordinary dispatch offices, I have no idea why this wasn't addressed. Thanks for your reply, and it sounds like a lot of things were considered "on paper" or for legality's sake, but it doesn't mean they are being addressed full-time and properly monitored. Someone signing an agreement that there will not be distractions at their home office does not equate to none being present. Monitoring someone remotely is not the same as monitoring them in person. Hopefully, the FAA can't ring your doorbell and ask to monitor you while you're at work, from your home office. And while it's nice some of these things were considered, it doesn't sound like there was much testing done in advance or that everything was considered. As for the question about being a enroute aernoatutical station...why is that ridiculous? If you talk to the planes via ARINC it's a valid concern. It still seems to me that the PDI tried to bend over backwards to get this approved quickly for Skywest, for what reason I do not know. I can say that while there has been testing done on the concept at my major, it has not been approved for anyone's use and does not appear likely to be approved. I continue to think this was a bad idea, hastily rushed through at the request of a regional operator, without adequate testing and oversight of the process, and I will continue to be of the opinion that no home office has the number of backups and resources that a traditional dispatch office has. Time will tell what the future holds but I hope that other people in the FAA take a closer look on how this was approved and that the temporary dispatch from home authority does not get extended, or authorized for other 121 operators.
 

F9DXER

Well-Known Member
I think what he is saying is that a lot of carriers (mine included) are actively using the back up facilities right now. Our dispatch group is separated for the foreseeable future. This way if there are any active infections at one facility, the people in that facility are separate from those at the other. So if we need to close a facility for cleaning, there is still another facility that can maintain operational control of the airline because they haven't been in contact with anyone at the infected facility.
My airline is running 2 SOC's. If you are assigned to one, you are not allowed in the other. Period. Of course there goes some overtime. Yet what is really funny , we have a couple of commuters that share an apartment and yes, each is assigned to a different facility. I:aghast:
 

flynryan692

Well-Known Member
It's funny you say it wasn't tested very well, I wonder what I spent time doing. How does SkyWest benefit from this in the end? They've had to spend money on getting everybody personal keyboards and mice, getting all of these PC's and monitors to take home, getting people expensive headsets for the phones, and putting their certificate on the line to let people work at home when there is an OCC, a backup facility, and a makeshift secondary facility in the building. They could very well just not do the home thing and save some much need cash, but it was put into place to allow people to spread out and remove themselves from potentially being exposed to COVID.

I can understand the skepticism and I can get differences of opinion, but the constant assumption of some sort of malpractice or ulterior motives is honestly uncalled for and a little insulting. You keep insinuating that SkyWest is purposely compromising safety with backdoor deals with the FAA and that's simply not true.
 

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
I can understand the skepticism and I can get differences of opinion, but the constant assumption of some sort of malpractice or ulterior motives is honestly uncalled for and a little insulting. You keep insinuating that SkyWest is purposely compromising safety with backdoor deals with the FAA and that's simply not true.
I'll withhold judgement on this to see what the response is from the FAA administrator....and it's not aimed directly at Skywest. I have seen other times when the FAA seemed willing to "bend the rules" because of something that an airline wanted to do, only to finally change their official position when an investigation was conducted or some sort of "handshake agreement" was requested to be placed in writing.

Finally, if this is such an expensive thing for Skywest to do, one wonders why they didn't just go the traditional route of splitting up their NOC into regular and backup facilities and scheduling people to work at one or the other, the way several majors have done?
 
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Jetlagg

Well-Known Member
It's funny you say it wasn't tested very well, I wonder what I spent time doing. How does SkyWest benefit from this in the end? They've had to spend money on getting everybody personal keyboards and mice, getting all of these PC's and monitors to take home, getting people expensive headsets for the phones, and putting their certificate on the line to let people work at home when there is an OCC, a backup facility, and a makeshift secondary facility in the building. They could very well just not do the home thing and save some much need cash, but it was put into place to allow people to spread out and remove themselves from potentially being exposed to COVID.

I can understand the skepticism and I can get differences of opinion, but the constant assumption of some sort of malpractice or ulterior motives is honestly uncalled for and a little insulting. You keep insinuating that SkyWest is purposely compromising safety with backdoor deals with the FAA and that's simply not true.
hate us cause they ain't us
 

paincorp

Well-Known Member
My airline is running 2 SOC's. If you are assigned to one, you are not allowed in the other. Period. Of course there goes some overtime. Yet what is really funny , we have a couple of commuters that share an apartment and yes, each is assigned to a different facility. I:aghast:
Another has duty managers swapping between the back up and normal SOC, on top of splitting room mates.

When the roommate situation was brought up the response was “I don’t want to know about people’s personal lives.”

Can you feel the concern they actually have for their employees from that one sentence alone?


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flynryan692

Well-Known Member
Finally, if this is such an expensive thing for Skywest to do, one wonders why they didn't just go the traditional route of splitting up their NOC into regular and backup facilities and scheduling people to work at one or the other, the way several majors have done?
They did, they have the primary OCC, a secondary one they made for this purpose, as well as a back up which is required. On top of that they offer dispatch from home on a volunteer basis.
 

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
They did, they have the primary OCC, a secondary one they made for this purpose, as well as a back up which is required. On top of that they offer dispatch from home on a volunteer basis.
It seems like an odd thing to offer for no apparent safety benefit and a possible compromise of operational control and safety - but I know you have a different opinion on the subject. Hopefully nobody ends up getting investigated due to not being able to maintain operational control from home at some point - that would honestly be my biggest concern for any individual dispatcher participating in this. As I said before, it will be interesting to see what the response is from the FAA Administrator, although the FAA isn't known for doing anything in a hurry.
 

Flagship_dxer

Legacy Airline Dispatcher
In a non-union shop like Skywest, I can see this as a test for permanent work from home. You may say why would management pay so much for this? In the long term, if they can prove to the FAA that home dispatching works they might do two things: Get rid of either the main SOC or the backup to save money and also require the dispatchers to maintain the equipment and software needed at their own cost. Both would allow a non union like Skywest to cut costs.

In a union shop, these things would need to be negotiated and the union would want something in return. The union would likely demand the company to pay to maintain the equipment and software so they would not see a significant savings.
 

Eskhobbs

Well-Known Member
- What oversight will the FAA excise to ensure that at-home workstations are meeting the requirements of 14 CFR 121.99, including access to an uninterrupted power supply? If an at-home workstation does not or cannot meet these minimums due to the location of a dispatcher’s home or their local infrastructure, will the FAA bar the air carrier from assigning that dispatcher to work from home? Does the FAA expect each air carrier to provide at-home workstations capable of meeting federal minimums to each dispatcher?
Only if they made a computer with a built in battery....

In a non-union shop like Skywest, I can see this as a test for permanent work from home. You may say why would management pay so much for this? In the long term, if they can prove to the FAA that home dispatching works they might do two things: Get rid of either the main SOC or the backup to save money and also require the dispatchers to maintain the equipment and software needed at their own cost. Both would allow a non union like Skywest to cut costs.

In a union shop, these things would need to be negotiated and the union would want something in return. The union would likely demand the company to pay to maintain the equipment and software so they would not see a significant savings.
No company, or airline, would require an employee to pay for their own software or equipment, lets be real here. It's a HUGE legality risk on the IT side of things to let employees be in charge of the equipment. They'll run it just like every other company that issues mobile devices, it's heavily controlled via the IT group and you'll VPN into a company network to get your work done.

The cost savings is coming from getting rid of office space and the associated costs - water, electricity, office supplies, liability insurance, building maintenance and security. Computer equipment is such a small cost when compared to other expenses with having people in an office.
 

flynryan692

Well-Known Member
In a non-union shop like Skywest, I can see this as a test for permanent work from home. You may say why would management pay so much for this? In the long term, if they can prove to the FAA that home dispatching works they might do two things: Get rid of either the main SOC or the backup to save money and also require the dispatchers to maintain the equipment and software needed at their own cost. Both would allow a non union like Skywest to cut costs.

In a union shop, these things would need to be negotiated and the union would want something in return. The union would likely demand the company to pay to maintain the equipment and software so they would not see a significant savings.
Now we're off in tin foil hat land. I've said it in other threads and I'll say it here, AI will take er jerbs before anybody is forced to dispatch from home or let go for some Nigerian prince.
 

Flagship_dxer

Legacy Airline Dispatcher
Now we're off in tin foil hat land. I've said it in other threads and I'll say it here, AI will take er jerbs before anybody is forced to dispatch from home or let go for some Nigerian prince.
It was less than a decade ago that there were airlines in this country that made pilots PAY them for a job. If an airline can find a way to get away with it, they will do anything to save a buck.
 
It was less than a decade ago that there were airlines in this country that made pilots PAY them for a job. If an airline can find a way to get away with it, they will do anything to save a buck.
If only the newbies knew just how much change has happened in such a short period of time then they’d have some perspective of what’s a tin foil idea versus reality.
 

azmedic

Well-Known Member
If only the newbies knew just how much change has happened in such a short period of time then they’d have some perspective of what’s a tin foil idea versus reality.
Look what’s going on in the airline world right now. There was a flight attendant group at a southern based airline earlier this year that was suggesting they could volunteer to clean the planes on overnights to help the company save money. Management doesn’t even need to do the dirty work anymore when people are tripping over themselves to offer forms of concessions.


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