View Full Version : Contractual Obligations

17th Dec 2003, 00:50
Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just that I'm getting old and a little tired.

However, after many years playing aeroplanes (so many of my sensible friends think) I've come to the conclusion that aviation is always better last week.

The money was better, the rosters were nicer, the beer was cheaper, the boss was friendlier. Every discussion I can recall over the last 10 years always leads to the inevitable conclusion that things are only getting worse. Look at any thread regarding a specific employer or geographic area and ask yourself how many posts you can find regarding the fabulous improvement in conditions and the rapidly increasing salary.

Senior executive salaries have increased from 50 times the average worker's to over 800 times the average worker's (Figures from the Euro Wall St Journal earlier in the week, which I may have slightly misquoted.) Our wages have gone from 10 times the average worker's to 2 times if you're lucky.

Somebody, jump in and tell me where things are improving. At a major please as job security and career advancement in a seniority based industry are still generally dependent upon corporate size.

If nobody can do so, then please point out to all your wannabe friends, wannabe children of your sensible friends, wannabe acquaintances and wannabe relatives that this job in this industry is dying.

Maybe it's still better than selling mobile phones. Maybe it's still better than working for the council. No judgement implied against people engaged in these pursuits, BTW. But, if you had put as much effort, commitment and money into pursuing another career would you have been selling phones or emptying street corner rubbish bins?

We all know the answer to that question. And unfortunately, this is where our professionalism, effort and expertise have taken us. There's no turn around on the slippery slope. Things will always be better last week...:bored:

17th Dec 2003, 03:03
Maybe you think I was lucky to have been made redundant 10 years ago...I will always remember flying executive jets as the very, very best thing that anyone can do, and I was devastated to lose my job at a time when I was approximately the 800th best qualified unemployed ATPL in the UK, meaning that I moved to another field, where I am up to my ears in a rut.

I think that anyone who has a job flying should be grateful and thankful that they are not selling mobile phones, insurance or double glazing, or for that matter in network marketing.

There are still thousands of people who want to get into aviation at any cost and for any salary. So long as they exist the industry is unlikely (and arguable would be foolish) to pay high salaries.

Can I have your job please?


17th Dec 2003, 03:23

I think it is time you got your head out of your rear-end

"Our wages have gone from 10 times the average worker's to 2 times if you're lucky"


All that means is you are getting paid a more honest days wage as opposed to what you used to get.

You are a pilot. You are not a schoolteacher, you are not a nurse, you are not a doctor. All of these professions work harder than you. All of these professions have had to go through years of training. All of these professions actually add to society.

Get a grip


17th Dec 2003, 03:50
I am with you on this one Roland. in the last 10 years I have seen terms and conditions go way downhill. What is nearly impossible to get across to the wannabees who say they will take our jobs tomorrow is that in 3 years time they would be grumbling like we are and there will be a new set of wannabees wanting their job...and so the cycle continues. One unfortunate by product of this process is that the calibre of wannabees is generally going downhill as well because the smart guys have realised there is no future, no security and no money in this business anymore and are all doing their degrees in underwater basket weaving so they can become accountants or HR managers in airlines where they can earn big bucks by further reducing the terms and conditions of flight crews.

In my airline we are regarded as expensive taxi drivers and treated like [email protected]. No senior manager has the balls to stand up to his manager so all the crap gets passed downhill to the lowest common denominator to sort out, usually the line captains!

Its no wonder that we have started refusing discretion and looking at the MEL for reasons not to dispatch rather than to keep the airplanes moving. If you think it costs too much money to give crews decent terms and conditions just count the cost when a maximum safety policy is introduced like the chaps at CX did recently.

Well thats achieved nothing but it feels great to get it off my chest. End of rant.

On a more serious note, I am so disgusted at so many aspects of our industry that I am changing careers in my late 40s and have just done my final OPC/LPC.

17th Dec 2003, 04:43

You obviously never managed to qualify for the dubious priviledge of flying in todays bean-counter run industry!

To claim that the stated professions work harder shows you do not have much of an idea of todays multi-sector, short turn round days, flying in increasingly crowded skies.
Since when did pilots not require years of training? This is something that is ongoing through a pilot's career and is also assessed unlike the professions you mentioned!
You may think that enabling businessmen and women to travel is not worthwhile, also you may think that enabling all these valid professions to travel and enjoy their hoilday time in all parts of the world is not worthwhile, that is your opinion to which you are entitled.
How many careers do you know in which competency is continually assessed and required to maintain your "honest days wage"?
A word of advice, don't stick your head up your rear end, it may get stuck!

17th Dec 2003, 09:38

In fact you can have my job, if you are suitably trained, suitably qualified, with an appropriate attitude, able to demonstrate adequate ability and are prepared to move your family anywhere on the planet to have said job.

I don't actually think I had attempted to make an attack on school teachers or any other noble profession, but I'm still waiting for someone to tell me where things are getting better. It's not a hard question.

Turn around in the industry? Shortage of pilots? Massive aircraft orders? Improving pay and conditions? Anyone.....

Thanks for the rant Cowpat. Venting is not just something that the fuel tanks have to do from time to time.

18th Dec 2003, 04:24

To take the points in your rant in order.

1) I was never interested in "flying in todays bean-counter run industry". My best friend does and I would not have his job for 3 times what he earns.

2) At what point did I say that pilots go through no training. I am well aware of the trainng regime for the current commercial pilot and the ongoing re-certification. I was simply alluding to the fact that pilots are not the only trained profession.

3)"You may think that enabling businessmen and women to travel is not worthwhile, also you may think that enabling all these valid professions to travel and enjoy their hoilday time in all parts of the world is not worthwhile". I am glad that there are people who will drive me where I want to go on holiday, like taxi drivers, bus drivers, train drivers and plane drivers.

4) Lets not compare the impact a teacher can have on society and that of a pilot. A teacher can mould the next Stephen Hawking or Alexander Graham Bell, a pilot simply takes them to the airport near the beach on holiday.

5)"How many careers do you know in which competency is continually assessed and required to maintain your "honest days wage"?" This statement shows your ignorance of the real world. There is one outside aviation you know. Where the real work is done.

I am not anti-pilot or anti-aviation, I am simply sick to the back teeth of the egotistic behaviour of pilots. The belief that they have some divine right to money, power and hero worship from those of us who pay their wages.



fade to grey
18th Dec 2003, 04:40
and what would you call real work eh ?

School teachers finish at 3pm and get the whole summer off(yes I know about the marking etc...)but its still not a bad deal.

I haven't had reliable weekends off for 12 years and believe you me,matey, flying a non-precision approach in the dark to some hole in greece IS real work.

Oh,but you are not a pilot are you so I suggest you concentrate your rants for your own occupation:i.e something you know the slightest amount about.

18th Dec 2003, 04:56
Fully agree with Roland!

And something needs to be done! Establishing a worldwide (IFALPA) agreement on minimum wages, banning "paying your own type ratings" etc, is the only chance to obtain a minimum level of working standards.
Anyone of the folks criticizing a post like his, are the same people who contribute to lowering the standards by accepting what is done to our community.

Working longer hours, for less pay, with the extreme unsecurity our job market now displays is not for the benefit of anyone, and is not what can be considered a "future career". How anyone today can justify to pay the obscene amount of money that is required to obtain a license, and then proceed to a job is unbelievable.
I admire the ones who do, but they should be properly compensated in the future with pay that commensurate with the effort put in, and that balances the risk our job market presents.

Polly Gnome
18th Dec 2003, 04:56
I'm putting my head very cautiously over the parapet here. I'm know a lot of pilots and people who have worked very hard (and spent a lot of money) to become professional airline pilots. (I'm a PPL.) I understand it's a responsible job where you cannot make a mistake.

It is obvious that terms and conditions for airline pilots have become worse over recent years.

It's partly related to the fact that there are more flights. Passengers do not consider flying to have the same high status as they did, and so are not prepared to pay (in relative terms) as much. Low cost airlines work on the same economics as cheap Saturday day returns on the trains. (I am NOT comparing pilots to train drivers here.)

It is partly due to over supply. There are more airline pilots available than jobs. Airlines don't have to pay to attract applicants. I don't think this affects the 'senior end' as much, but it must have a knock on effect.

I think it is also a reflection of what is happening in society as a whole. Teachers work longer hours and are continually checked; nurses can earn more money, but only if they take on much more responsibility; new council workers work a longer week; many people now only get the minimum of 20 days holiday a year, including Bank Holidays; many people only get pay rises if they take on more work; some workers are made redundant and the remaining workers have to do their jobs as well.

Statistically, in the 1950's and 1960's wages, for all sectors of society, rose on average in relation to qualifications/experience. Now wages only rise gradually until you reach the top 10% in any job/profession/industry, when wages rise dramatically.

18th Dec 2003, 04:58

If you would not do your freinds job for 3 times what he gets paid, then is he not getting paid below a realistic rate for the job?
How often do we hear of the lack of motivation and desire to do the job from teachers? How often do we hear of failing schools and poor teachers and kids let down by the education system. I know there are many very good and dedicated professionals in the teaching profession, but I have come accross many more that should not be given the important task of moulding our kids.
There are many doctors who never read any of the journals or handouts from the drug companies, spend minimal ammount of time with their patients and are never assessed to establish their continued proficiency to practice and prescribe.
If it makes you feel bigger to describe pilots as drivers then most of us will not complain, however when you try to judgeand decry the effort and level of professionalism that exists in aviation it is you who displays an egostistical and arrogant attitude that we could all best do without "flying down the back"!

18th Dec 2003, 06:01
Dear BillHicksRules,

You are most definitely speaking out of your rear end. In fact i have concluded that you are frustrated with no perception of the real outside world. Before entering the aviation industry I was an industrial chemist. I hope you condier me as one of the contributors to society you mentioned (in which case I'm flattered). To become an airline pilot is more and more difficult nowadays. Not every tom, dick and harry who manage a university degree can manage the ATPL i can assure you. And the salaries paid are very similair to what an IT executive or a senior accountant gets. So if you think we are overpaid think twice maybe more in your case.

Please stop this rant. You mention teachers as moulding the next genius when in reality the work of a genius has nothing to do with the teacher. It is who is tought rather than who teaches.

We have our own responsibilities, long hours, operational decisions, etc.... to deal with. However I can assure you that there is no other job that gives you as much satisfaction as working in the aviation industry. And carrying 170 satisfied passengers does not compare to a bus driver or taxi driver as you mention.

Sorry to say but your post sucks.

surely not
18th Dec 2003, 06:30
Now who's ever been satisfied in the back of a taxi:O :O

18th Dec 2003, 07:08
BHR; "I'm not anti-pilot...I am simply sick to the back teeth of the egotistical behavour of pilots"
Run that by me again, Pilgrim, I think I detect a flaw in your arguement but slowly, because being a pilot I'm preoccupied with my divine rights at the moment.
Your choice of Stephen Hawking and A G Bell is significant; one's in a wheelchair and one's dead. Pilots can do that to people unless they are highly trained and dedicated to flight safety.

The African Dude
18th Dec 2003, 07:09

I am simply sick to the back teeth of the egotistic behaviour of pilots

If I were to say that "I am simply sick to the back teeth of the egotistic behaviour of sales exec's" (from your profile)..
..would you say I was making a sweeping generalisation?

Your comment as quoted above is utterly unjustified.

I was simply alluding to the fact that pilots are not the only trained profession.

If I were to say that "Sales Exec's are not the only people who go to work" (from your profile)..
..would you say I was making any point at all?

Your comment as quoted above is utterly pointless.

I was never interested in "flying in todays bean-counter run industry".

You undermine the vailidity of your own decisions by subscribing to a forum dedicated to a profession filled with "behaviour" you are "simply sick to the back teeth" of.

You are a pilot. You are not a schoolteacher
To which you add, later, with reference to schoolteachers, All of these professions actually add to society
To which you THEN add:
Lets not compare the impact a teacher can have on society and that of a pilot


Have a NICE day ELSEWHERE please!!


18th Dec 2003, 08:11
I detect that you're stuck in a rut, feeling like a "Jobsworth",eh? Your post reeks of something - envy, perhaps, disguised by the rant defense-mechanism. Surly bonds of Scotland feeling a bit surlier than usual, today, hmmm?

"...Same old, same old...wish I could go somewhere nice and warm for a layover, like that lucky pilot [email protected] down the road...I know, I'll make myself feel better by having a vent on that website he mentioned to me - what was it now? Ah, yes, RRaisins, no that's not it...DDates, nope...PPrune, ah got it, here we go then....RANT"


Chris Higgins
18th Dec 2003, 08:24
I'm sorry to hear that I have made no contribution to society. I flew air-ambulance between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh childrens hospitals with critical neonatal patients for four and a half years.....

Sometimes I was on loan to other hospitals following floods, earthquakes tornadoes and hurricanes.

I thought it was a contribution at the time!

18th Dec 2003, 10:54
As a person who believed from a very early age that I was born to fly, I suppose I could be considered to have the biggest reason to be jealous of pilots, even in today's industry. Yet, I have a great respect for pilots, for reasons I think BHR will never understand.

When it became obvious that I could not fly professionally, I turned to AeroEng, yet still did not get into aviation at the level I wanted, simply because it did not exist anymore.

I went the private way, getting my PPL in the States and then hounded every avenue in persuit of any job in flying. The penny dropped when I was applying for saturday afternoon glider tug jobs and competing against ATPLs that had 100 times more hours.

The point is that in the same time period, people did indeed get flying jobs with about the same experience and oportunities that I had. I used to think that they just had more luck or connections, yet I have grown to accept that they had more determination and just did not give up. It took me years to overcome the sense of unfairness in order to understand that there is more to life than flying. Having kids really put such thoughts to bed once and for all and I have absolutely no regrets. Unlike some who seem to deny the truth to themselves, yet which seems so obvious to many.

The dedication I mentioned does not end once they have landed their dream job. The dedication is in every task of every flight coupled with a level of responsibility that very few jobs have.

It is my firm belief that such responsibility and dedication deserve the respect and monetary reward that most ordinary people THINK they get, yet the reality is far removed these days.

I think we are passing (have passed?) through yet another golden era, just as we lost the flying boats, open cockpits and many other truly wonderful ages of flight. The difference is that those golden ages passed because of advances in technology, standards and attitudes, yet there is no way I would describe todays changes for commercial pilots as progress.

2 years ago I walked out on my job as a despatcher/load controller, even though it was a rewarding job that I loved. The reasons are echoed by Roland's sentiments; decreasing standards of pay, conditions, treatment and most importantly, attitudes to safety and security. When my brother trained as a despatch/load controller for KLM, he went through 2 months of intensive training and another 2 months of supervised line training before he was let loose on an aircraft. In the last few months at my job, I saw check-in agents with no previous tech experience get 2 weeks classroom training before they were unleashed, unsupervised and unsupported onto widebody flights. I grew sick of every LD mistake being treated as a disciplinary matter while the management broke every H/E and CAA regulation they could. I was a thorn in their side for as long as my mental health could cope and finally left. Today, 2 years later, the conditions have got a lot worse according to my old colleages and I struggle to understand why planes aren't dropping from the skies as a result. My belief is that when they do, there will be little that we can do to reverse the trend that incompetent and self-centred management have instigated, since they will have stripped the industry of the experience and dedication that ensures the safety standards we see today.

I have allowed myself to believe that pilots and engineers did not suffer the same trends that I have seen in ground handling, yet it is becoming obvious that they are. Contract handling has been the easiest way to escape the responsibility of maintaing such standards. The premis is to cut costs, but the unseen effect is to strip away the ability of an airline to maintain standards. I have seen it at the ticket desk, checkin, ramp and then operations, where management with no specific training to be managers, or relative experience of the jobs under their supervision, are overuling safety, regulations, security and the working environment in general in the name of short term cost-cutting. I was actually told by my manager that they would not be giving us the baggage reconciliation training that regulations demanded because the budget did not permit it. When I asked if they had cleared it with the authorities, he replied that they completely understood the commercial pressures. So when I told him I would be confirming that with them, he told me I would be sacked if I contacted them.

This is the type of management that is running our airlines these days.

What makes me sick is that by doing my job for half the money that BA despatchers worked for, I contributed to the general decline, because when BA saw this, they began to 'weed out' the experienced guys to replace them with cheaper alternatives. This is how an airline lowers its visible costs, yet without realising just how much such experienced and dedicated staff can save money by using their experience and authority to prevent mistakes, delays and ultimately, accidents, as well as maintain high levels of service to the customer.

I was fortunate that nobody was ever injured during any of my 5000+ turnarounds that I controlled, yet when I think about the newbies on the ramp that were operating shoddy equipment with far less than adequate training or supervision, it brings on cold sweats.

The governing authorities seem to rely on the statistics, which fortunately remain good, but sad truth is that self regulation is being abused by the airlines to the point of criminal negligence. It is only the quality of modern aircraft and the professionalism of a few individuals, especially mechs and pilots, that maintains those stats. Sooner or later, the bigger holes in the fewer layers of cheese are going to line up and let the ever increasing number of mistakes cause accidents.

For me the declining standards of pay and conditions are not just lamentable as a lost era, but they will have serious consequences in the not too distant future. If some want to dismiss Roland's post with a boo-hoo, then that's their right, but expect many folks like me to have little sympathy when you are whining about the fact that their safety is being excessively compromised every time they use a cheap airline. Your complacency and greed for cheep flights has consequences.

Next time you hear an airline spokesman say that 'safety is a given', don't believe it, because it is just another bit of spin to deflect from the FACT that they are sucking the essence out of the industry that took so long to reach the high standards that we expect. You want to help them turn pilots into bus drivers? Then take a look at how many bus crashes there are every year and whether you would get on a plane driven by a driver with the equivelant training, support, regulations, oversight, dedication, responsibility and safety record as you see on the busses. Then wonder why some bus drivers are getting the same wage as new FOs and why those FOs should show any more dedication/responsibility to their tasks. When a bus driver can do the same job as Al Haynes, then you can equate the jobs, until then, stick your ignorance and envy where it belongs.

I thank you.

18th Dec 2003, 12:12
Strangely enough, I actually wasn't trying to start a pilot worthlessness tirade, blunt ego war and lambasting of every aspect of aviation.

I think that what had occurred to me is that the calibre of men and women that I generally encounter in aviation, thank you Toney_EM for pointing out the one's I had missed, should not be subject to continual erosion in remuneration and conditions just because they are professional enough to continue to perform well thereafter.

Although I am well aware that employees in other industries are subject to the same forces, I don't belive that any other industry is so dependent upon the enthusiasm and genuine concern of its participants. (Incoming: A new tirade with one off examples to deflect the argument.)

Perhaps, seniority enshrines the right of the employer to prune and chop wherever they see fit. As we know, dropping years of seniority to 'start again' is a monumental decision. Few opportunities exist which make that decision sensible.

Perhaps, as someone else suggested it is simply oversupply. Too many wannabes with too much of someone else's money spent on them to get a qualification? I doubt that. Money or no, dedication, application and attitude are still required to enter the workforce. (Yes, again, I'm sure we all know exceptions.)

Perhaps it is just the very attitude and personality that drives us to or enables us to become involved in 'playing aeroplanes' that ultimately leaves us open to our own demise. I can't recommend it to anyone.

Aviation was better last week...

18th Dec 2003, 19:03

As a member of the SLF I'm going to chuck in my pennys worth with an outsiders perspective. I agree that pilots T&C's are constantly changing and for those already in the industry many of the changes will be perceived or are an erosion of that which you held before. I think that in the "good old days" pilots were seen in a much different light and these days airlines are looking at all jobs through the bean counters glasses. That combined with the mystique that used to be the world of pilots rapidly changing to being seen as just another job (albeit one that requires a high level of aptitude, skills etc) within the professional ranks means that the perceived value attached to the job is less than before. Whether this is a case of aviation and specifically pilots being realligned relative to other skilled professional jobs or that the profession is being screwed remains to be seen.

While people are still climbing over each to join your ranks the T&C's and pay are only going to go in one direction. The old chestnut of supply and demand still applies.

Personally I love flying and have had the chance to sit up the front a few times and hold the greatest of respect for your job. Like much of the technology thats rapidly changing the face of aviation as a group you will have to try to work smarter and be innovative to hang on to what you have as opposed to digging your heels in and resisting change. The bloody bean counters usually win in the end..!!

18th Dec 2003, 21:42
I agree with your sentiments Roland. Unfortunately I have also to agree with Caribs. Its a function of the new check and balance sheet society we live in where the bottom line is always seen as far more important than the good old fashioned values of decency, compassion, respect for ones fellow workers etc. Its now got to the stage where one is thought of as a fool if you miss the opportunity to stab your mate in the back so as to further your own career.

The only time when the company will mention the word "loyalty" is when they are trying to appeal to you not to leave until they want to terminate you, or they want you to go 3 hours into discretion. In short, when they are appealing to the qualities that most of us still hold dear and they ridicule and abuse.

I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that you can't beat city hall (I had a bloody good try) and will shortly be leaving aviation for a far less well paid but far more satisfying and stress free career where I can actually look forward to going to work again.

Sad times.

Tony _EM, A very eloquent post. The situation that you endured is almost identical to my story 8000 miles away from you. Its a global problem but noones listening, and they wont until 'planes start falling out of the sky. By then, as you correctly state, it will be both too late and irreversable.:(

18th Dec 2003, 22:43
Well, truth be told, I never really complained about the low wages, promised bonuses that were withheld and sensible cost cutting measures, since I wanted my company to do well. Working for an uncompetitive company does not hold much security for an employee with a family to support.

The real objections and concern arose from the management style which was incompetent at best, criminally negligent at worst.

To explain better, I will recount a period of time in the history of our ops dept where we had no manager or even duty controller in charge. In one of the many re-shuffles in the company just prior to being sold off, we were supposed to be under the supervision of the check-in duty controllers of both T2 and T3, yet because of squabbling between these two groups, we just got ignored. This left us to govern ourselves for 6 months. In that time period, we had the lowest sick leave, the slickest leave coverage, the least amount of delays, the least amount of errors and the best team work I had ever seen, since we knew we were onto a good thing. The sense of group-responsibility and subsequent support within the team made it truly enjoyable to go to work.

When one of the notoriously incompetent managers was yet again shuffled out of the sh!te that he created in another department, our 'hole' was identified as a harmless place to stick him, and thus began our decline again. He saw his first task as establishing discipline by punishing nearly the whole department for various [email protected], a la Capt soble (Band of Bros). In a matter of weeks he had us turning against each other in order to "get the wind out of our sails" (his words).

This isn't about the low wages or lack of prestige of our jobs. This is about sh!tty management justifying their jobs, [email protected] on those below for personal gain and making themselves out to be better than they are by purging their departments of anyone they percieve as better than them. Nothing new, since it seems to be happing at the highest levels of government all the way down to line management of most companies in this country.

On a side note, I began posting here a few weeks ago, mainly banging the same drum and expecting to get flamed to hell. So it is pleasantly surprising that my posts have been treated with much more respect and sensitivity than I ever expected. I'd just like to say thank you for not jumping to the conclusion that I am just another disgruntled ex-employee. While I have little respect for those running the industry right now, it is my love of aviation and deep concern for its future that motivates me. That and the chance that some may learn from what I have seen and experienced.

The problem here is not declining wages, but the erosion of standards through utterly dire management and an almost total lack of oversight that is allowing regulations to be routinely ignored. What you see in the posts above are the symptoms not the roots of the problem itself. What the industry desperately needs are trained managers that put their workforce above their promotion, who will stick up for their department and the regulations and standards they were untrusted to uphold and have the guts to say enough when the bean counters are asking for the impossible. What we've got are yes-men with less integrity than thives who would sell their staff to the devil in order to get that pat on the back.

If we started now by intensive training and regulations that demanded proven qualifications, I reckon it would take 5 years before a new generation of competent managers would start to turn the corner in this country. The snowball is gathering pace and heading downhill all the way. In the meantime, we get David Brent to make us all laugh at the irony.

18th Dec 2003, 23:11
Believe me when I say that heels dug into the sand (local analogy) is not a problem from which I suffer. Personally, I have actively sought a company whose bean counters are doing a good job of ensuring its survival, and therefore my ongoing wage. This is not an issue of the 'bean counters at my airline are worse than the bean counters at yours'. It's endemic.

Maybe it's the old chestnut of supply and demand that really needs to be addressed. When was the last time that you told a wannabe that this career, and more generally this industry, in which so many of us have strived to gain a foothold is sucking us dry. Have you pointed out to any aspirants that the job that they are likely to get as an FO next week will be on the same net terms as the Command job that they will have three years hence. More responsibility, more experience, more chance of getting sued, screwed or abused but no better reward, other than the personal satisfaction of a job well done. Hard to buy food with that though.

We romanticise our living. I'm guilty of same myself. We even downplay our own roles. Before all passengers were terrorists, how many times did you hear someone answer the time honoured question "So what do you guys do up here?" with a self-demeaning quip? Do yourself a favour. No, do all of us a favour and anyone that is stupid enough to follow us into this a favour also. When someone asks you what you do in the cruise don't come back with 'read the comics' even if that is what you do. Perception is reality behind the locked door.

What is Joe SLF going to say when asked if she or he wants well trained flight/support crew? "Sh1t yeh!". What is Joe SLF going to say when asked if she or he will pay an extra brass razoo to fly with an outfit with slightly higher standards? "[email protected] off!".

The bean counters know that they need to keep the outfit making money to survive. What they don't have to do is worry about starting out as an office clerk again if the outfit fails. They still have their experience and qualifications to take to another employer. What do we do? Go looking for that elusive direct entry XXXXX (Insert your desired rank here) job with a company which will give us some chance of building a career because we like what we do. Then we take another hit in pay, conditions or rank (and hence probably both of the former) to get going again. The spiral dive continues. Oh, and BTW, don't think that you're immune to the effect if you're working for the flag carrier. It might not happen overnight, but it will happen. Sooner or later you will be facing the same fate with which the rest of the industry is now well acquainted. Seniority is outlawed in some western countries!

I don't know what the answer is. I'm not really sure that there is one. I do know that there are things that we do which accelerate and exacerbate the problem. Just don't be so dishonest to yourself and to your friends as to describe this as a Greatjob. It may have been once but that was a moment in time.

Aviation was better last week....

[Edited to include the many other employees in this industry being industrially pillaged!]

19th Dec 2003, 03:07
You can tell that I have been stewing on these issues for some time.

My latest thought is that ultimately free market forces are sculpting this industry. It is mainly the appearance of cut-throat competition that is forcing airlines to cut costs in order to compete and maintain market share.

The real issue is whether the market is competing fairly, because if one particular airline is ignoring regulations to keep their costs down, another that refuses to cut corners to such a degree could eventually be forced out of business for what amounts to unfair or even illegal competition.

It is my contention that some airlines are indeed failing to maintain the minimum standards as set out by JAR, and are therefore forcing some to follow or die. I'm not advocating the abolishment of the competition that keeps air fares reasonable and within the reach of the average punter, but since the market has reached such a state recently, wouldn't it be prudent for authorities to make sure that standards are not dropping below minimum levels in regards to regulated procedures as well as the treatment of staff and health and safety standards?

The regulations were designed to maintain standards in a safety critical industry, so at what point are they going to realise that the fierce competition and self regulation just won't mix anymore?

As I said on another thread, I saw many regulations routinely broken by BMHS and Aviance. I did my duty (even though it cost me my job/career) and reported these incidents to the relevant authorities. Some of which investigated, but when the investigation consisted of them basically asking the companies whether they were doing it right, and accepting their answer "yes, of course we are", you can understand why I have no faith in the system to enforce the regulations. And again, by the time they do, probably because of a big smoking hole, they may then realise that the airlines can no longer financially, or through lack of infrastructure, actually comply with the regulations.