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Low paid pilots from UK

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Low paid pilots from UK

Old 6th May 2001, 14:12
  #21 (permalink)  
tarjet fixated
Posts: n/a

The Guv is still around???
Everytime he writes anything i have to laugh!
I support my german colleagues as well as i support the US majors system and luckily enough pilot shortage is here and the companies and all those like the Guv will have to talk to pilots sooner or later...that is if the Guv had an airline of course.
Old 6th May 2001, 15:16
  #22 (permalink)  
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Just out of interest people, over the years has anyone noticed the slight difference between the average employee/voter in the UK as compared to the equivalent in ... lets say... France??

Where, historically and idealistically, does our (UK pilots) lack of motivation to stand together and take action originate from. How many times do we fly to another country, or hear on our televeisions and learn about the willingness of other unions and workforces to strike/take action TOGETHER, AND achieve results.... just think about it.
Old 6th May 2001, 15:51
  #23 (permalink)  
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I must say i object 'very ' strongly to the tone of your posting. Speaking as a current union & labour member & past member of Her Majestys Armed Forces .
I would just like to say i am neither a traitor or a treasonist.Just because any individual has a diametrically opposed view to your own, it does not make them the devil incarnate !!!.
"when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail".
Old 6th May 2001, 19:17
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
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ragspanner, I think you may have misunderstood my posting.
With the exception of time spent in the RAF, I have been a union member since 1957 and firmly believe in union representation, collective bargaining and members supporting their national executive.
I disaproved of the subversive political activities of union officials and members of the Labour Party in the forties, fifties and sixties and the activities, particularly within education, of their liberal cohorts.

Needless to say, the vitriol was not aimed at ALL TU leaders and members of the Labour Party just those Ole Bas considered to be particularly naughty

Edited for last para.

[This message has been edited by Basil (edited 06 May 2001).]
Basil is offline  
Old 6th May 2001, 22:29
  #25 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

It's a matter of supply and demand, we all know that! Listening to the stories of some self improvers, they have been happy just to have a flying job that pays. Eventually they, like everyone else in the industry should expect a reasonable reward for their responsibility.

A reasonable salary should take into account the skill level needed, the degree of responsibility, the qualifications required, the "X factor" (unsociable hours, working over bank holidays, time away from home, personal risk etc), and the amount of personal financial investment involved in gaining the licence and experience.

Add to those considerations the cost of living in UK, and the salaries of equivalent professions, I would conclude that we have fallen behind. On an average trip of say a 12 hour report to chocks span, the allowances just pay for my petrol: ok I live 100 miles from work, but properties near work in the SE are V expensive.

I enjoy my work, that's why I do it, and I don't expect to get rich from it, but with the cost of living (with all the hidden taxes) in UK, I feel I could stand up in my local and easily justify a salary higher than it is at the moment.

But I'm not holding my breath....
Old 6th May 2001, 22:39
  #26 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Top end salary in the US at the majors is high, however the first year salaries are extremely low and if you happen to be working for a commuter at least the first two years you can look up to the burgerflipper at Mc D's, he will bring more money home then you will
Old 7th May 2001, 00:28
  #27 (permalink)  
Silver Thunder
Posts: n/a

An American perspective.

I have been in this business 25 years, all civilian. I have been through two bankrupt airlines, and one that slowly had all its assets sucked away by greedy managers. I have been divorced once, gave her half of what I had. I have less now than I had 20 years ago. If my health holds out I hope to fly another 15 years.

Do I think experienced, professional pilots are worth $300k. YOU BET!

I stole the article below, it is worth reading.

When contract time rolls around, you will begin hearing comments from our fellow employees, from management, and the news media about pilots’ excessive salaries and over-sized egos, etc. I cringe when I hear a pilot react defensively about our wages and lifestyle. Do you?

Does your doctor, your lawyer, your CPA, or your dentist apologize for his or her salary? Why should you?
The doctor to whom I entrust my health and my family’s health earns six figures a year. The specialist I entrusted an eye problem to several years ago earns several times my six-figure salary. Had she botched the job, my multimillion-dollar career would have come to a screeching halt. She didn’t, and because of her extensive training and experience as an eye specialist, I’m back in the cockpit pursuing my career as an airline pilot. She was worth every penny she was paid. Her 8–10 years of college, medical school, residency, and specialty training delayed her entry into the high-dollar workforce. She had no guarantees she’d earn the big bucks of an eye specialist. She felt the risk was worth taking, and it has paid off handsomely for her and her family. Not all of her colleagues were as successful. Sound familiar?

The CPA who prepares my tax returns earns six figures a year. She’s very good and knows her business. She doesn’t apologize for what she charges. I pay her for her knowledge and experience. She’s worth every penny. The lawyer I took my parents to for some estate planning was not cheap. Customers like my parents paid for his high-priced office and expensive car. They willingly paid for his knowledge and experience. He certainly made no excuses for his earnings. In both cases, the CPA and the lawyer spent years acquiring both the education and experience before they earned "the big bucks." Sound familiar?

I have a friend who is a dentist. Following college and dental school, she spent 4 years in the military to gain experience and to help pay off her dental school loans. Leaving the military, she took a pay cut in her first civilian job working for another dentist. It took her 3–4 years before she was earning more on the outside than she was paid in the military. She then took another risk--she started her own practice. Some savvy moves on her part have resulted in her having a successful practice 6–7 years later. She’s now earning more than a quarter of a million dollars per year at age 44. She offers no apologies for her income. Many of her classmates from dental school are earning half a million or more a year. None of them react defensively about their earnings. Why should we?

The professionals mentioned above share some very common traits. While not all people in their profession earn six-figure salaries, those at the top of their profession do earn six figures, sometimes seven.

Most of them delayed their entry into the normal workforce by several years to acquire the education, training, skills, and experience necessary to become eligible to enter their chosen career field. Most of those career fields have some form of licensing requirement in addition to continuing-education training on an annual or periodic basis.

As professional airline pilots, we are justifiably proud of our achievements. Those of us who have landed jobs at major airlines have overcome many hurdles. Many of us have worked for five or six airlines before getting to a major airline. Others spent 6-10 years in the military getting the requisite experience. Our annual checkrides, training, and FAA medical examinations are a constant intrusion into our lives. A large number of our fellow pilots will have their careers cut short because of a medical problem, resulting in a loss (temporarily or permanently) of their medical certificate.

Educating the flying public and our fellow employees is up to us.

The next time you’re in a social situation, think about what and how you communicate. Perhaps instead of bragging about your three-times-a-week golf game, talk about your last simulator check or your last upgrade school. Educate those around you about the amount of advance preparation (with no pay) you did to successfully complete that school or simulator check. Inform them about the last poor weather day during which you made a CAT II or CAT III landing, or handled an aircraft malfunction, bringing the airplane to a safe landing. You don’t need to boast. Just be factual and emphasize your training and experience in safely handling these situations.

Perhaps slowly, over time, we will add to the positive image pilots already enjoy with the traveling public. Then, when the next contract negotiations come around, people will be more inclined to say, "Those pilots are well worth what they’re paid." After all, the public doesn’t generally complain about what their doctor, their dentist, their CPA, or their lawyer earns. Why should they complain about what their pilot earns? Their lives are in our hands. l

Old 7th May 2001, 01:00
  #28 (permalink)  
Oldie Volvo
Posts: n/a
Red face

One of the problems in the UK is that too
many inexperienced pilots, regardless of age,
are so grateful for a flying position that
they will accept almost any terms and conditions offered to them. In a free market
economy, if you have a talent or skill, you
should be able to demand an adequate level
of return for that ability. It it fair that
a semi-literate footballer should earn £40k
a week - no. Is it fair that a member of the
clergy in a deprived inner city area should
earn less than half of that sum a year - no.
But then nobody ever said that life was fair.
The aviation industry is most peculiar in so
much that it involves expensive high-tec
equipment from aircraft through radar to a/c
tugs. Yet much of the industry pays its staff
peanuts - I'm not talking about flightdeck
now. Speak to the baggage handlers, the people on the check in desks, the cleaners,
most of whom seem to be on temporary contracts and trained for the new season with
about a week to go. I guess it all comes down
to supply and demand, if you run short of
cleaners you ring up the job centre and find
a few more. However, with more technically
centred jobs for engineeers, ATC controllers,
pilots and all the rest its a little more
difficult to find people at short notice.
When demand is high and supply is short it
should logically follow that rewards for
services should be increased to attract the
right quality of people. In the UK however,
we just seem to accept whats on offer and
certainly as far as flightdeck are concerned,
open our doors to the world. How many accents
have you noticed from the colonies in the
last few months in UK airspace operating UK
registered aircraft.

I do not suggest for one moment that massive
pay claims in the US mould are practical in
the UK - they would not succeed beacuse as a
group of individuals we tend to be somewhat
right-wing and unlikely to take industrial
action. Sadly, the bean counters are all too
aware of that fact and as a result they will
always offer the minimum they can get away with in any negotiations. Don't forget that
most of those who really affect our pay-cheques are only in our companies for a short
time and when they have made a good note for
their CV, they will be off leaving the front-
line troops from Chief Pilot downwards still
in their seats coping with day to day reality.

So why are our pay-levels so low in comparison to other major carriers - Nigels
apart obviously. Simply because we as a
profession are inclined to take the easy road
away from confrontation in the hope that by
keeping our heads down our companies will
survive. Now if BALPA actually ever really
flexed its apparent muscle.............
Old 7th May 2001, 08:08
  #29 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Ex- BA pilots that showed up at SQ in the mid-1970's sure didn't help the payscale there. Most stayed only two years and moved on because they were not used to actually flying a reasonable number of hours per month. Many told me that they came to play golf for two weeks a month. When they found this impossible, they left, only to be replaced by more. Kept the salaries way DOWN and they still have not recovered. These guys should stay home after retirement.
Old 7th May 2001, 12:59
  #30 (permalink)  
The Guvnor
Posts: n/a

Let me clarify my position on this. My opposition here is solely to the ultra-high pay of pilots at some of the US majors - and in particular their excessive pay demands during an economic downturn, when all companies need to cut costs rather than increase them.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, these high visibility pay increases tend to spill over to other companies - the old "me too" syndrome.

I'd be the first to acknowledge that at the bottom of the pile, junior pilots are very poorly paid indeed. But then so are many other professions during that initial phase - doctors, lawyers, accountants, dentists etc.

In all of those professions, the cream - a very few - rise to the top of the tree and they earn astronomical salaries; as do a few of the most successful entrepreneurs.

However, with the likes of DL, LH and AA crews, we're not talking about a few very special individuals being rewarded for their significant accomplishments - everyone gets it, no matter how good (or bad) they are.

This discussion is one that has been chewed over many, many times in the past and I'm sure will be in the future - but at the end of the day, what makes pilots (more) special that other members of their company team? Why shouldn't licenced engineers get $300,000 - their responsibility is surely much greater, as if they mess up it's going to cause rather interesting times for everyone else? What about the marketing staff, who if they don't do their jobs properly, you don't have any pax (or cargo) to fly? And what about cabin crew ... probably the worst paid of all, but who in the current 'air rage' environment, probably have the most stressful job of all?

If the argument of "we deserve lots of money because of the high asset value and responsibility for lots of lives" is to be valid, then the captain of a ULCC would be on US$100k+ per voyage; and I dread to think what the captains of the new luxury super cruise ships should be earning!

It's a team effort and an attitude of "I'm all right, Jack" doesn't do the rest of the profession any favours.

Sure, you need to protect yourselves against inept or corrupt management - but the best way of doing that is to ensure that you have a say in the company's affairs through board representation and employee share holdings. Unfortunately, in many cases where this has been tried the employees have lacked the business knowledge required to understand what's really going on and therefore have allowed themselves to be manipulated by unscrupulous managements. The key is therefore to ensure that the agreement is structured in such a way as to require full transparency and accountability, with the ability to disseminate information to all employee stakeholders.

As for the astronomical management salaries, Beaver Driver - I'm as opposed to them as I am to astronomical crew salaries. If they are so brilliant at sucessfully running the company, then again they should be on the same basis as I proposed earlier - decent basic plus profit share and equity. It focuses the mind wonderfully!

Of course, something that is constantly overlooked in this discussion is the people who really lose out when everyone is emptying the cookie jar ... the owners of the company; the stockholders. Too many senior executives treat their company as if it's their personal bank account; it's not.
As Chairman, CEO or whatever, you're directly responsible to the stockholders (including employee stockholders) for maximising their returns - and if you fail in that goal, then your ass should be out of there.

Finally, I'd like to finish off with an article I'm sure you've all seen before. It's guaranteed to bring tears to the hardest-hearted accountant as it is conclusive proof that pilots are overpaid ... unless of course it's danger pay for having to "chase away" all those hosties!

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Why I Want to be a Pilot

I want to be a pilot when I grow up because it's a fun job and easy to do. That's why there are so many pilots flying around today.

Pilots don't need much school, they just have to learn to read numbers so they can read instruments. I guess they should be able to read road maps so they can find their way if they get lost.

Pilots should be brave so they won't be scared if it's foggy and they can't see, or if a wing or a motor falls off, they should stay calm. Pilots have to have good eyes so they can see through clouds, and they can't be afraid of lightening [sic] or thunder because they are closer to them than we are.

The salry [sic] pilots make is another thing I like. They make more money than they can spend. This is because most people think plane flying is dangerous, except pilots don't because they know how easy it is.

There isn't much I don't like, except that girls like pilots and all the stewardesses want to marry pilots so they always have to chase them away so they won't bother them.

I hope I don't get airsick because I get carsick and if I get airsick I couldn't be a pilot and then I'd have to go to work.

- essay by a ten year old boy</font>
Old 7th May 2001, 13:36
  #31 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

Ah Guv,

How you manage to alienate so many with so few words.

I have just re-mortgaged my house and will be separating myself from my family for 9 months to take a risk with the future of myself, my wife and my baby daughter.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">As Chairman, CEO or whatever, you're directly responsible to the stockholders (including employee stockholders) for maximising their returns - and if you fail in that goal, then your ass should be out of there. </font>
My family are the stockholders in my project to become a pilot. I will be investing somewhere in the region of GBP50,000 (including loss of earnings and fixed monthly outgoings that figure increases dramatically). So tell me Guv, why shouldn't I try and earn as a much as possible when the initial investment is so huge? I am simply trying to maximise the return on investment for my shareholders. Why should mangement try to reduce pilot salaries to the point of being borderline for Income Support?

You talk of the Captains of ships, but do you know what they earn? The Captain of a VLCC DOES earn as much as a Delta 747 captain (depending on shipping line sometimes more). Carnival Cruise liner captains earn as much if not more than BA 747-400 Captains. Captains on North Sea supply boats earn roughly the same as Turboprop fleet captains, depending on company. Maybe you should check your facts a bit more before you open your mouth.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Why shouldn't licenced engineers get $300,000 - their responsibility is surely much greater, as if they mess up it's going to cause rather interesting times for everyone else? What about the marketing staff, who if they don't do their jobs properly, you don't have any pax (or cargo) to fly? And what about cabin crew ... probably the worst paid of all, but who in the current 'air rage' environment, probably have the most stressful job of all?
Good point Guv, but if any of the above people f@ck up THEY DON'T DIE. If the flightdeck screw up they end up on the mortuary slab with the passengers, the company suffers poor publicity and business drops off, possibly enough to cause the death of the company (Pan Am, Value Jet for example). So now tell me as a businessman Guv, who do you give that sort of responsibility to? Highly motivated and trained personnel that are happy with their renumeration? Maybe you would like to see the companies assets flown by flight crews who dislike your company culture of "pilots are overpaid prima donnas"?

With this sort of attitude I don't think you will get many crews for Caledonian Wings from PPRuNe pilots. Assuming it ever appears, of course.
Old 7th May 2001, 13:43
  #32 (permalink)  
Notso Fantastic
Posts: n/a

Guvnor Warning Guvnor Warning! (and Bus429 or whatever he calls himself these days)! Some people are wind-up artists as well as holding bizarre views they like tickling professional pilots with. The best way is just to ignore them- just 'tune them out'.
Old 7th May 2001, 14:05
  #33 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

regarding 'non' flying GE's - in many companies they (GE's)fly constantly on the a/c they maintain. The terms in which you express yourself seem to suggest that GE's somehow have a lower level of responsabilty ?.
Don't forget the old self preservation adage " if your the guy in the sh#t you work damn hard to get out of it". Perhaps those engs who maintain & don't fly have to have high ideals & levels of professionalism ?.
Remember whether the GE flys or stays at home if they "f@ck up " everyone still dies !!!!!.

A wise man thinks all that he says,a fool says all that he thinks.
Old 7th May 2001, 14:35
  #34 (permalink)  
Posts: n/a

I am trying to follow the logic of your arguments.
You seem to be saying that it is all right for the "professions" to earn big bucks, but that if we do not fit your definition of professional, we should not expect too much, as we are in the same boat as F/As, cleaners, and engineers.
Piloting is not quite the same as the medical profession as there are not many opportunities to specialise, nevertheless there are many non-specialists in the medical and other professions who make pretty decent salaries.
If length of training time to qualify, and poor pay in the early years are the requirements, in your view, to be considered a "professional", then pilots fit the bill exactly.
I would say that it takes at least 6 years and over 3000 hrs to be considered for command in even the most rapidly expanding airlines.
In the real world, most airlines require more than 6000 " good" hours for commanders. Not many decent sized airlines have commanders with less than 10 years and 6000 hrs under their belts.
Right in line with the other "professions".

There is no short cut to real experience, which is what makes it invaluable.This applies to Doctors, Lawyers, etc,etc. There is more to a job than book learning and theoretical training. Cutting up cadavers is not the same as real bodies, useful practice though it may be(like simulators).

The other point you make that I do not accept, is that pilots should accept low basic salary and be rewarded for the positive performance of the company.
All too often the pilots perform to the best of their ability, only to be let down by management, marketing, or other forces beyond their control. Why should they be required to suffer as a result of someone elses failure to perform.
Do the company's lawyers or auditors accept less when the company has a bad year, do they get refunds on fuel costs, or insurance premiums, or landing fees?
I think that the pilot body has met all it's performance targets when it gets it's flights done in the safest, most cost effective way possible , whilst doing the most possible in the circumstances, to keep the passengers well informed, comfortable, and happy.

Most pilots do not have any desire to be earthbound office managers, they are quite happy to manage the operation of their flying multi-million dollar offices.

Think of it this way, on your $300 ticket, about $30 goes to the (2) pilots, hell, most executives tip their(1) waiter twice that much. When you sit nervously in the back one dark and stormy night, ponder on this whilst the lightning flashes, and the wind blows, and the rain pours down.

lost in hold.
Old 7th May 2001, 18:13
  #35 (permalink)  
The Guvnor
Posts: n/a

Flypuppy - sorry, mate, but you've obviously not read my posts properly. I'm not 'having a go' at all pilots in general - just the ones that are already overpaid and still want more. I seriously doubt that you'll be earning anywhere near US$300,000 as soon as you've qualified - do you?

Also, if you re-read my comparison between certain ship's captains and flight crew, you'll see that I said per voyage - in other words, I am extrapolating out the value of the ships and cargo/passengers when compared with flight crews.

As for an engineer still being around after one of his aircraft has gone down with all on board due to a f*ck up on his part: he's going to have to live with that responsibility for the rest of his life (as do management/ops types that force pilots to make incorrect decisions due to commercial reasons - the F28 at Dryden being a good example). Like I said, it's a team effort and if the flight deck people aren't team players when it comes to things like remuneration it quickly fosters a 'them and us' situation - as has happened at plenty of major carriers on both sides of the pond.

ClearDirect - no, what I'm saying is that there are a very few - the elite - in each profession that will rise to the top and make astronomical salaries. For every QC earning £500k a year, there are probably 1,000 lesser solicitors and barristers - most of whom don't take home a tenth of the pay of a top silk. The same should be true of pilots - but it isn't. Pay seems to be determined not by ability but who you work for - regardless of how good you are. You could be the world's best pilot, but if you're flying for Ouagadougou Airways, you'll be on peanuts. Equally, you might have just scraped in at American, but because of the APA's battle with DALPA to be the best paid in the air, you'll be very well off, thank you!

As for performance related pay, the problem here is that DALPA, APA and now Lufthansa crews are demanding huge pay increases - just when the economic downturn is starting to bite. I'd be the first to agree that personnel - all personnel - should share in the fruits of their labours when things are going well; but equally when the company needs to cut costs then they must be willing to bite the bullet in return for that bonus participation. Hence the basic salary plus company performance related pay proposal.

As for the company's auditors and attorneys - yes, you'll find that in many cases they also form part of the cost cutting exercises when things are tight with much more use being made of in-house, rather than outsourced, resources.

I agree with you also that the pilots have lived up to their part of the contract when they have delivered their pax safely and on time in a cost effective manner.

But there's the crux of the issue.

When you join an airline, you're usually told how much you're going to be earning and what your other terms and conditions will be.

You then have a choice - accept the deal, or reject it and go elsewhere.

By demanding huge pay increases, these people are in effect rewriting the rules after the game has started - and that's just not cricket, I'm afraid!

This is an argument that's going to run and run....

Old 7th May 2001, 19:59
  #36 (permalink)  
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Guv, What you'vejust said is exactly what Cathay has done to us. My contract has been rewritten at least 3 times since '94 by our management, to our disadvantage of course.
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Old 7th May 2001, 20:24
  #37 (permalink)  
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...By demanding huge pay increases, these people are in effect rewriting the rules after the game has started - and that's just not cricket, I'm afraid.


The rules are being rewritten constantly - more often by management - for good or "bad" reasons - than by the employees.

If the situation and thus the "contract" weren“t constanly "changing", there would be less coflicts.

The argument - "You knew what you were getting into." just doesn“t hold - for ALL sides.
It“s a part of life.
Old 8th May 2001, 02:00
  #38 (permalink)  
Alien Shores
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Guvnor, when I sign out my aircraft I sign acceptance per sector of an almost $1,000,000,000 US liability, for which I am solely responsible. You don't believe me...? Well, have a look in our documents folder, it's in there.

My salary (UK major Captain) makes a mockery of that. You do talk a good management position, but to throw your engineer argument back, if they leave the oil filter caps off, and you happen to be on the flight that gets airbourne with that particular fun scenario to deal with, how much would you pay the crew who put that aircraft back on the ground with your ass in one pice? I believe it was BMA in that case, no? And before you say "Well, their salary, of course," would you have rather have been in the hands of certain airline's pilots at that time, and not others? Well? Are they all the same?

Your arguments are rather dead in the water, but you are so good at that stuck-record method that they will never change, I can see that. Until that day when a pilot whom you consider overpaid puts that ass of yours back on the ground in a situation you couldn't have saved, or any of your accountants, managers, Feng-Shui specialists, analyists or whatever saved, I expect to hear nothing but the same from you. That is the bottom line that really counts.

Good luck, but you are, always have been, and always will be on the backfoot. Problem is, I think you know it, but have to argue otherwise.


[This message has been edited by Alien Shores (edited 07 May 2001).]
Old 8th May 2001, 02:46
  #39 (permalink)  
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&gt;&gt;Guvnor, when I sign out my aircraft I sign acceptance per sector of an almost $1,000,000,000 US liability, for which I am solely responsible.&lt;&lt;

You're solely responsible for a billion U.S. dollars of liability per sector? Maybe you share a little of that responsibility with someone perhaps, or do you fly single pilot aircraft? Or are there a few extra zeros in your claim?

I need to wipe my shoes off after reading this one &lt;g&gt;...

But I agree, you do deserve more money than you accept for flying in the U.K.

"A billion here, a couple of billion there -- first thing you know it adds up to be real money"

- Senator Everett M. Dirksen
Airbubba is offline  
Old 8th May 2001, 04:04
  #40 (permalink)  
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As you may have figured, I enjoy a lively debate.
Two points.
1.On your theory of a pilot meritocracy, just how do you define your average, above average, and superb airmen? Who decides what the criteria are?
Does this actually work in any other profession?
2."You then have a choice - accept the deal, or reject it and go elsewhere."
Actually, there is one more choice,-accept less than optimum in the expectation that you may be able to change things.(Any ATLAS bells ringing there?)
Everybody joins an organisation with the understanding that they expect it to grow and prosper, and they expect that they will do likewise.That involves change.

Finally, are you saying that Delta's and AA's negotiators are incompetent, and signed something they clearly know to be unsustainable?


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