Airline Pay cuts driving away best pilots

peter185

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090224/ap_on_go_co/plane_splashdown_hearing



WASHINGTON – The pilot who safely ditched a jetliner in New York's Hudson River said Tuesday that pay and benefit cuts are driving experienced pilots from careers in the cockpit.
US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger told the House aviation subcommittee that his pay has been cut 40 percent in recent years and his pension has been terminated and replaced with a promise "worth pennies on the dollar" from the federally created Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. These cuts followed a wave of airline bankruptcies after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks compounded by the current recession, he said.
"The bankruptcies were used to by some as a fishing expedition to get what they could not get in normal times," Sullenberger said of the airlines. He said the problems began with the deregulation of the industry in the 1970s.
The reduced compensation has placed "pilots and their families in an untenable financial situation," Sullenberger said. "I do not know a single, professional airline pilot who wants his or her children to follow in their footsteps."
The subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee heard from the crew of Flight 1549, the air traffic controller who handled the flight and aviation experts to examine what safety lessons could be learned from the Jan. 15 accident which all 155 people aboard survived.
Sullenberger's copilot Jeffrey B. Skiles said unless federal laws are revised to improve labor-management relations "experienced crews in the cockpit will be a thing of the past." And Sullenberger added that without experienced pilots "we will see negative consequences to the flying public."
Sullenberger himself has started a consulting business to help make ends meet. Skiles added, "For the last six years, I have worked seven days a week between my two jobs just to maintain a middle class standard of living."
The air traffic controller who handled Flight 1549 said thought he was hearing a death sentence when Sullenberger radioed that he was ditching in the Hudson.
"I believed at that moment I was going to be the last person to talk to anyone on that plane alive," controller Patrick Harten testified in his first public description of his reactions to last month's miracle landing.
"People don't survive landings on the Hudson River. I thought it was his own death sentence," the 10-year veteran controller testified.
But Sullenberger safely glided the Airbus A320 into the river after it collided with birds and lost power in both engines.
Harten, who has spent his entire career at the radar facility in Westbury, N.Y., that handles air traffic within 40 miles of three major airports, struggled vainly to help get the airliner safely to a landing strip.
Making lightning-quick decisions, Harten communicated with 14 other entities in the three minutes after the bird strike as he diverted other aircraft and advised controllers elsewhere to hold aircraft and clear runways for 1549.
First, Harten tried to return the plane to LaGuardia Airport, asking the airport's tower to clear runway 13. But Sullenberger calmly reported: "We're unable."
Then Harten offered another LaGuardia runway. Again, Sullenberger reported, "Unable." He said he might be able to make Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.
But when Harten directed Sullenberger to turn onto a heading for Teterboro, the pilot responded: "We can't do it .... We're going to be in the Hudson."
"I asked him to repeat himself even though I heard him just fine," said Harten. "I simply could not wrap my mind around those words."

At that moment, Harten said he lost radio contact with flight and was certain it "had gone down."
Afterward, Harten said he told his wife, "I felt like I had been hit by a bus."
NTSB investigators have said bird remains found in both engines of the downed plane have been identified as Canada geese.
Sullenberger and Skiles said anyone who's spent much time in cockpits has encountered bird strikes but that this one was exceptionally severe in knocking out both engines. Some gulls don't even dent the airplane, Skiles said, but this "was a bigger bird than I've ever hit before." The crew and passengers of a helicopter that crashed en route to an oil platform on Jan. 4 weren't as lucky. The National Transportation Safety Board reported Monday that investigators have found evidence birds were involved in the accident near Morgan City, La., that killed eight of nine people aboard.
 

habubuaza

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I'm glad the crew is using the opportunity to bring attention to something that's affecting us all.
 

reepicheep

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National seniority list, national contract. Allow lateral movement and elminate the total reliance on "your" airlines' fate in determining your career. Let some airlines liquidate instead of extorting concessions via the "at least I still have a job and where else am I gonna go" route. Fewer jobs but better pay for the pilots with overall seniority to hold them.

Probably never going to happen. And the pitiful pay and benefits packages now seen in the industry won't improve.
 
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ACL65PILOT

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So lets see where we can go with this. The public thinks that we all make 200K a year. Some do, but most are below what an Admin Assistant makes in the state of CA.
I asked my trash man last week what he made. His response was 60K. My UPS van driver makes 95K with no cost out of pocket for medical.
 

instructordude

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Yeah but the trash man doesn't have an office with a view like ours.
 

Patriot328

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Yeah but the trash man doesn't have an office with a view like ours.

I know you're just trollin' along, but you do bring up a point that a lot of people use.

"It's fun!" "You got a great office view."


That's all well and good, but BoA doesn't care if I have a nice view out my office window. They want MONEY for the mortgage payment, not pictures of the view from the cockpit.
 

ACL65PILOT

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I disagree. Double that and we are getting close.
 

blzr

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yes, it is. I am not aware of a professional that does not want to do better though. I think $75k and $150k is a good STARTING point.

I think that $250k a year would be just fine for all doctors to make, don't you?! They on't deserve to make all that money. Wait, now I sound like a socialemocrat.
 

ACL65PILOT

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Yes they do.
Think of the asset that you manage. Now take a small jet say a RJ~ 35-40 million dollar asset. A narrow body jet 50 million. A International wide body jet 250-300 million. These jets are a huge asset/liability that we manage.
Now go to any other career field and see what a president of a BU (Business Until, not even the company president makes managing a like asset.
I will save you the work. Double to triple what a 777 CA makes for a mere 30 million dollar asset all they way to over a million dollars a year for a 300 million dollar asset. We are so underpaid it is not even funny.
Top it off that mistakes are fatal not only to us, but to the lives behind us, and those on the ground. Add to that what it does to the companies reputation. With this amount of responsibility comes pay, and benefits commensurate to the level of said responsibility.

The guys making 150K a year are the assistant sales managers. (They manage no assets, and maybe five people)~This is about the responsibility level of an FO.
 

reepicheep

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Still way too many 20-something CFI's chasing the dream. 80k? 60k? Sounds great when you're living in your parents' basement making two grand a month. Supply still outpaces demand.
 

ACL65PILOT

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It will until 2012. Then everyone will be in deep doo doo. The airline's answer to this is a MPL (Multi Pilot License) That just lowers the bar and confirms what Sully's fears our.
We as a collective group need to fight for this never to happen in the US. It is in essence a Captain flight instructing full time.
 

fam62c

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Sadly, the flying public doesn't care who flies the plane or what they get paid and they probably never will. A major event like this gets their attention for a couple of days but in the end they just want cheap tickets.
 

ACL65PILOT

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They will when you see a hull loss a week. For your information that was predicted to happen about 2015.
 
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