John T. Donnelly
Director of Strategic Research
Transport Workers Union of America
John Donnelly was selected as the Director of Strategic Research for the Transport Workers Union of America in June of 2009. Strategic Research provides a wide variety of support services as requested by TWU Departments, Divisions, and Locals. Projects include but are not limited to financial analysis, contract comparisons, negotiations support, survey development and analysis, pension advising, legal research, news research, contract presentations, as well as organizing research and support.
Donnelly has 30 years of experience in the airline industry as an employee and as a financial analyst, and was a TWU member at American Airlines from 1978 to 2003. Prior to joining the TWU International staff he was a Senior Manager for Oliver Wyman Group, where his primary focus was on the labor aspects of the airline business. Over the past several years he has built a unique knowledge of both union and company perspectives and strategies. In addition to providing expertise on the labor front, Donnelly’s understanding of the industry’s environment and financial drivers gives him a much broader range of capabilities. Donnelly has provided ongoing support for the TWU Air Transport Division in the role of economist since 1999.
As a consultant, Donnelly completed projects for an array of clients that included airlines, airports, labor unions, investment bankers and private investors. The scope of Donnelly’s work includes financial statement analysis, labor contract costing, financial modeling, wage rate analysis, contract language comparisons, and survey development. He was intimately involved in several airline restructurings during the past decade as both lead and supporting analyst. Prior to joining Oliver Wyman, Donnelly was a Managing Consultant, and later Vice President, for Eclat Consulting.
· From 1999 to 2009, served as financial advisor for the TWU Air Transport Division. Provided a variety of services, including negotiations support, industry analysis, strategic advice and labor cost modeling to support the Division - primarily for the seven TWU contracts at American and four at American Eagle. Also provided analytical and other support for Dispatch Locals at Alaska, Hawaiian, Northwest, Air Tran, ExpressJet, Continental, US Airways, UPS, and Pinnacle.
· From 2005 to 2009, served as strategic and economic advisor for the Frontier Airline Pilots Association (FAPA). Client support comprised a broad range of services including negotiations support, strategic counsel, financial analysis, labor contract benchmarking, membership polling, membership communications, and contract costing. Served as FAPA’s economist during Frontier’s bankruptcy, reviewing regular financial updates provided to the Unsecured Creditors Committee and guiding the pilot group through successful negotiations that led to a fair consensual agreement, thus avoiding the Section 1113 contract rejection process.
· From 2003 to 2009, supported Éclat’s role as advisor to Hawaiian Airlines. Client projects varied widely but included: a cost benefit analysis of E190 versus B717 for interisland flying, a threat assessment of Mesa’s entry into the Hawaiian market, industry update presentations for labor leaders, updates on Hawaiian market conditions, labor contract benchmarking, an analysis of Aloha Airlines as an acquisition target, and an assessment of international expansion strategies and opportunities for Hawaiian.
· Collaborated on the development of comprehensive financial forecasting models of major US airlines to assist a well known hedge fund in its airline investing decisions. In association with the modeling, developed a labor cost forecasting index based on projected pay increases, capacity changes and seniority profiles for pilots, flight attendants and ground workers.
· Provided expert labor cost analysis for ExpressJet Airlines during a dispute with Continental Airlines over the rates charged for regional jet service. The analysis successfully supported ExpressJet’s position in arbitration that labor costs were not uncompetitive in the regional industry. Continental was awarded only a small fraction of the $56 million in annual labor cost reductions sought during the arbitration proceedings.
· In association with Seabury Group, benchmarked comparables and developed a template for new pilot and flight attendant pay and work rules for Nuevo Varig Airlines, the successor airline to Brazil’s bankrupt and grounded flag carrier, Varig. The new contracts were ratified by the company’s unions following a brief period of negotiations, allowing the new airline to begin operations.
· Delivered keynote presentation at the first ever International Transport Workers Federation Aviation Economics Conference in London. The event’s goal was to provide union leaders with information on the direction of the global airline industry that would provide the basis for long term union strategies. The Conference was attended by delegates from 42 unions based in 26 countries.
· Provided labor costing expertise for Deutsche Bank during its assessment of ATA airlines during that Company’s bankruptcy. Based on the overall assessment of the Company’s business plan, Deutsche Bank chose not to provide exit financing for ATA.
· Served as economic advisor for several AFA-CWA Master Executive Councils, including Spirit, ATA, and Aloha Airlines flight attendants. Work for the Aloha MEC was in association with that Company’s second bankruptcy filing.
· At American Airlines in 2003, assisted the TWU in the development of eight restructured labor agreements. Work included evaluating American’s business plan to confirm the need for the stated concessions, independently costing the value of pay and work rule concessions, and advising the union leadership in structuring agreements that maximized the probability of ratification. The restructuring agreements were ratified, prevented an AMR bankruptcy filing for nearly nine years.
· Lead analyst in Oliver Wyman’s FAA Obstacle Evaluation practice, which assists clients in gaining FAA approval for tall buildings, wind turbines and other structures that may have an impact on navigable airspace.
Current Transport Workers Union of America – Director of Strategic Research
2007 – 2009 Oliver Wyman – Senior Manager
2003 – 2007 Eclat Consulting, Inc. – Vice President
1999 – 2003 Donnelly Consulting Services
1978 – 2003 American Airlines – Fleet Service Clerk
1977 Brandeis University, B.A. - American Studies
1999 California State University, Masters in Business Administration - Operations Research Option
1997-1999 Member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Honor Society of business students. The Society invites the top 10% of undergraduate and top 20% of graduate school business students worldwide to become members based on GPA.