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Old 25th Oct 2009, 09:27
  #206 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 714
The reason this thread has developed in the way it has is quite clear - the industry has a problem. The likes of Bealzebub and other experienced folk who have seen it all before many times over, are standing as the voice of warning that the core of this problem lies in the recruitment policy of FR, the concept of today's "low hour" pilot, what he/she will accept as a basic remuneration package, and that the "first rung" of the employment ladder is now considered to be nothing less than a medium size jet.

I have been contributer to this growing issue by joining the CTC cadet scheme and gaining entry to the industry on one of these much vaunted (and hugely expensive) fast track schemes. I joined easyjet in late 2005 and benefitted from a hiring boom during WWW's "Golden age for wannabeism", ending up with a well paid permanent job, and B737 and A320 ratings. All for 60k! What a bargain.

Hooray for me, and I was every bit as pleased for myself as some of the contributers on this thread who are overjoyed at the prospect of flying that nice Irish registered Boeing. I didn't think there was anything wrong with working for free for six months while CTC paid me pocket money and experienced Co-pilots from other airlines sat in hold pools while us freebies jumped the queue. I'd passed all my exams and tests so why shoudn't I fly a big jet with 200hrs, I'd struck lucky and I was obviously a damn good pilot!

Of course the reality was something completely different. I wasn't some young hotshot, I was a brand new, thoroughly naieve CPL with a willingness to work 6 months without leave or pay, and as such for easyjet, a cheap way to fill what was at one time in aviation history an expensive RHS.

Four years of airline flying has given me a bit of perspective, and the legacy of the CTC scheme that I thought to be the only show in town during my wannabe years has become apparent. Prospective pilots' flock to CTC's gates, seduced by the prospect of pots' of money and the glory of flying a jet at 200hrs. All the while CTC use the lucky 300 or so who passed through the scheme during a boom period that probably isn't going to return, each landing a permanent and well paid job, as adverts that you can't go wrong. The truth? Long term it isn't sustainable, unless each year the pilots graduating from its ranks accept lower and lower terms and conditions.

Which brings us back to FR and the rot that has firmly set in at the bottom of the industry. A general acceptance that flying for free, or even paying to fly is an acceptable means of securing a "job" with the likes of FR and easyjet, justifiable on the basis that others (me) have done it before you. That contract work is the norm and you will get paid when you fly and oh, by the way, if we don't need you, swivel. You're a temp after all. Pilots with a decent level of experience in other areas of aviation or at other airlines cannot even get their CV read because they would have the nerve to expect a permanent contract with some job security. All the talk of leaving FR after a few thousand hours and joining an airline with better working practices and conditions is flawed - by this point no other airline will look at you because you are an expense, they want experienced captains or brand new co-pilots who will pay for everything and expect very little in return, remember? Ryanair, ezy are making money from the RHS, why shouldn't they?

So there are those who would say that T&Cs are heading south in every industry, just accept the on offer at Ryanair, get involved, and ignore the bitter and innane ramblings of people like The Beak.

I would suggest that as a generation of airline pilots, we are going to reap what we have sown. And it won't be pleasant.
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