DAYTON, Ohio – PSA Airlines has appointed two new officers to its executive leadership team. Both positions will report directly to PSA President, Dion Flannery.
Gary Pratt, Vice President – Maintenance and Engineering
Gary Pratt joins PSA Airlines as Vice President – Maintenance and Engineering. With nearly 30 years of commercial aviation experience, Pratt started his career as an aircraft technician with Delta Air Lines, where he served the majority of his career in various management positions in the maintenance organization. He joins the PSA team from Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation where he most recently served as Vice President of Maintenance and Engineering. In his role, Pratt will oversee all of the operations and administration of the Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Department. Pratt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Pratt is succeeding Kevin Reinhalter, who is retiring from PSA after 14 years with the airline.
Margaret Soda, Vice President – Human Resources
Margaret Soda has been appointed to Vice President – Human Resources and will oversee all functions of the department, including employee relations, recruiting, compensation, benefits, retirement programs, internal and external communications, and community relations. Soda joins PSA Airlines from Clearwater Paper where she oversaw human resources for the company’s Neenah, Wisconsin facility. She has 14 years of human resources experience, including human resources management at ConAgra Foods and seven years at Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation where she held the Managing Director of Human Resources position. Soda earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Human Resources from University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh and received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
“Gary and Margaret represent the talent that PSA is looking for to lead our airline into the future,” said Dion Flannery, President of PSA Airlines. “They are highly respected individuals in the aviation industry and PSA is thrilled to have them as part of our team.”
About PSA Airlines
PSA Airlines operates an all-jet fleet consisting of exclusively Bombardier regional jet aircraft. The company’s 2,500 employees operate nearly 700 daily flights to nearly 90 destinations. Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, PSA also has flight crew bases located in Dayton, Cincinnati, Ohio, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina. PSA has maintenance facilities in Dayton and Canton, Ohio and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport and Charlotte, North Carolina. PSA operates 35 Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft, 26 Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft and 53 Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft. The airline expects to add additional Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft and Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft to its fleet in the next two years, bringing its fleet count to 150.
More than a year ago, Charlotte-based Flight Attendant Deborah Drinnon experienced a medical emergency while working a flight. Upon arrival at the Charlotte airport, the medical personnel attended to her and transported her to the hospital. It was from that personal experience that Deborah met Medic and Instructor Jerry Morris. Jerry is a faculty member of Carolinas HealthCare System who trains paramedics through a program at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. Some of his former students (trained paramedics) have responded to medical emergencies on PSA aircraft.
Jerry reached out to Director of Inflight Services Debra Hoke to ask if he could partner with PSA in a joint training program. Specifically, his objective was to expose his students to the tight quarters of the aircraft cabin and simulate the handling of a medical emergency in the small aircraft cabin to use as a training tool. Similarly, the PSA flight attendants (as well as pilots and station personnel) gained benefits from observing and participating in this training and were able offer insight from the crew and station perspective.
Through the cooperative efforts of Jerry and the Carolina Health / Central Piedmont Community College Team, PSA’s Inflight and Flight Department Personnel, Safety and Security department, MTC Staff, CLT Station Operations and the TSA, the joint training program was a success! Not only did seven medics learn to better handle a medical emergency in a small aircraft cabin, PSA flight attendants learned how to best assist the medics when attending to an ill passenger on the airplane.
“This is so cool” was one of the reactions during PSA’s first Career Takeoff event held on July 20, 2016. Student pilots and instructors from all over the country, took part in this one-of-a-kind recruiting event to give these prospective pilots a look at what PSA has to offer – stability and a direct career path to American. Tours of the American Airlines maintenance hangar, C. R. Smith Museum and Training Center were included, as well as opportunities to meet PSA President Dion Flannery and American Airlines DFW Chief Pilot David Tatum.
A special moment came for one pilot as he was introduced to the group as one of PSA’s most recent hires. Ohio State University student Preston McKee has accepted an offer as a First Officer. David Tatum gave Preston a special gift, saying welcome to American Airlines, because as an employee of PSA, Preston has a guaranteed position through the flow program.
As part of the Career Takeoff event, a group of students and pilot recruiters traveled on PSA’s newest Bombardier CRJ-900 from Charlotte to Dallas and back. Trivia, food, giveaways and a tour of the cockpit were part of the experience on the flight. PSA’s cadet program was a focus with the students to educate them on the tuition reimbursement and opportunities it presents.
“It’s great to see future aviators (here) – young and energetic,” Dion Flannery to the group at a luncheon.
Kevin Berg of Fly Carolina said he was on the trip because he was encouraged by his family to participate because he is pursuing a different career, one that will bring him more joy. He said when he was a child, he would talk about being a pilot and when he flies now, it makes him so happy. He said this event is opening up his eyes to possibilities.
“The Career Takeoff event was a huge success for our airline,” said Brooks Butler, chief pilot and lead pilot recruiter.
More coverage: American Airlines / PSA Pilot Cadet Program by Swayne Martin
PSA Airlines today announced two important improvements in its efforts to provide an enhanced compensation package to attract the best and brightest pilots in commercial aviation. The airline will be instituting a First Officer retention bonus and a competitive commuter policy. These valuable additions enhance PSA’s existing industry-leading employment opportunities which offer the highest quality of life in the regional industry and a true pilot flow program to American Airlines.
PSA will be rolling out a one-time $20,000 bonus to all active First Officers which will be retroactively effective May 1, 2016. This retention bonus will be paid in quarterly installments of $2,500 until upgrade to Captain, or the earlier of 24 months. This bonus is another example of how PSA pilots benefit from the stability that comes with PSA employment and the well-defined fleet and growth plan as a wholly owned regional carrier of American Airlines.
In addition, PSA is also instituting a generous enhancement to our commuter policy, providing a $250 monthly allowance that all pilots may use, at their discretion, to offset the cost of commuting hotel expenses.
As a thriving carrier owned by the largest airline in the world, PSA has a defined and committed fleet and growth plan, playing a critical role in American’s long-term regional network. Since 2013, PSA has doubled its size from 49 aircraft to more than 100 aircraft today and will continue to grow to operate 150 Bombardier CRJ aircraft. As a result of this established plan, PSA is poised to hire more than 500 pilots per year over the next several years.
PSA Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, is expanding its pilot bonus program for new-hires to include pilots with Part 91K experience to help ensure it attracts and retains the best and brightest pilots in the regional business. In addition to the $10,000 signing bonus all new-hire pilots receive, PSA now offers up to $5,000 for new-hire pilots who have 1,000 hours of Part 135, Part 121, or Part 91K experience, or any combination of the three.
PSA’s existing industry-leading employment opportunity offer the highest quality of life in the regional industry with rapid advancement opportunities and an unmatched pilot flow through program to the largest airline in the world – American Airlines. PSA is a healthy and stable carrier with a defined and committed fleet and growth plan and the airline plays a vital role in American’s long-term regional network. Since 2014, PSA has doubled its size and now operated more than 100 aircraft and will continue to grow to operate 150 regional jets.