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AA sacks 7,000

Old 18th Aug 2002, 21:29
  #41 (permalink)  
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Sorry folks, should have emphasised that the conditions I refer to are in the US pilot marketplace where all the turmoil is now.

Rest assured though, whatever happens in the US marketplace will not cause just a ripple in the world airline industry. It could cause a tidal wave. This is not national egotism. It is a fact of life that is a function of the size of the US aviation industry, the size of its suppliers to the aviation industry and the US's financial influence on international economics.
The international aviation market will not shrink significantly but its character willl change dramatically. Aircraft, pilots and other aviation resources are, by definition, the most mobile assets any business could own.

As they say "Watch your six o'clock!"
Old 18th Aug 2002, 21:38
  #42 (permalink)  
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The abundance of pilots in North America is caused due to the carot effect of the large carriers. Brand new licensed pilots are willing to sell their soles in order to build up flite time. Then from a poor paying flite instructor to a poor paying charted pilot job to a poor paying regional pilot job ,always with the hope that some day all this blood ,sweat,and tears will finally pay off. If you finally get the break with the majors,based as much on affrimative action and other politics (UA min pre 911 was 350hrs total time),you hope in 10 to 15 years to make Capt.on a heavy and finally make the big bucks.
If the majors were to sour the reward for this dream job.they would be hard pressed to find enough new pilots in the long term to keep their airplanes flying.
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Old 18th Aug 2002, 22:13
  #43 (permalink)  
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Clearly you know nothing about Continental or other airlines of a few short years ago. The very same mistakes are made time after time by managements who know nothing about what went before...very BAD news for them, and you I suspect.
When you have been around just a "few" years, you just might see the problems in a "just slightly" different perspective...OTOH, from your attitude, perhaps not. Too bad for you, and those that think(?) along the same lines.


Hardpressed to find must be joking. The stacks of CV's now nearly reach to the ceiling, three times over.
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Old 18th Aug 2002, 23:20
  #44 (permalink)  
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To get back to the topic.

Under regulation the airlines and the pilot groups devised a neat little formula for calculating pilot pay rates. This formula was pretty much an industry standard. Two factors in the formula were normally number of seats and aircraft Take-Off Gross Weight. Then the problem appeared, the 747. Up until that time the biggest aircraft flying commercially weighed about 350,000 pounds, now there was introduced an aircraft weighing in excess of 700,000 pounds. On the face of it a 100% pay increase. Great for the pilots, not quite so great for the employees but not a disaster since, under regulation, they could pass most of the increase in pilot costs straight on to the passenger. And do not forget, the increased number of seats on the aircraft did improve productivity so to some extent the old argument still held. Pay me more for being more productive. Along with the 747 the new generation of mini-jumbos appeared, the DC-10 and the L1011. The top end pilot pay checks increased nicely and the pay checks on the smaller aircraft did not do too badly either. Pilot pay in the whole industy rose. Only "major" airlines existed. The only pilot progression was to join at the bottom of a major and know you had lifetime job security unless you screwed up. Sit back, don't rock the boat and enjoy your first class crew-meal (Ha! Those were the days. "Excuse me Captain, How do you want your roast beef? Will you be eating on the Flight Deck or in First Class?").

It is this immediate pre-deregulation era that provides the baseline for the present pilot salary situation. However, I must point out something which all of the posters on this sight seem to forget. In terms of adjusted dollars and cost of living increases airline pilots are now paid LESS per pound of aircraft weight than they were in 1978. Pay check dollar figures have increased to where they look quite impressive but consider also the cost of houses and cars. Pilot pay checks have not maintained their relative value. Nobody says they must do that, of course, but it is a factor to be considered and is usually ignored.

Deregulation introduced ticket competition between the airlines where it had been non-existent before. It also introduced start-up carriers. At first, the start-up carriers were viewed as potential major airlines, competition for the majors. This view soon proved too optimistic despite political interference (every politician wanted a start-up in his own community, presumably to buy local votes and make it easier for him to get to work.). It took many years before viable start-up airlines appeared and stayed in the market.

Now pilots had more career progressions open to them. Most still wanted to join a major carrier because of career and financial benefits. However, pilots that had for some reason failed to get hired by the majors or had personal reasons for not wanting to join the majors had a place to go. The down side was that the start-ups paid less than the majors. Therefore, for a significant number of pilots the start-ups were a means to an end. It was a way of getting airline experience before applying to and moving on to the majors. The situation was fairly stable. The major carriers paid the high paychecks and basically did OK in business. The small carriers paid less but were OK if you diid not want a job with the majors or could not apply to them because of age etc.

Then came the dramatic changes in the late 70's early 80's. The first blow was a serious increase in fuel prices, which had been threatening for some time, arranged by OPEC. The second blow was internal. I will give you just the names and you will know what I mean. Continental, Eastern, Pan-Am, Lorenzo, Ferris, that is enough. Under the new deregulation profit became the name of the game. From a business sense that is perfectly reasonable but for the pilot group it caused chaos. Neither the pilot group or the airlines had ever seriously had to fight over paychecks before. The result was a very messy few years in the airline industry, bankruptcy, strikes and much conflict between airlines and employee groups where there had been none before.

One way or another the aviation industry weathered these storms. However, what did not go away was a new sense of, in many cases, bitter mistrust between airlines and employees. No longer were pilot pay checks be subject to the old formula. Every dollar in pay or item of benefits was bitterly fought over. It is the result of this bitterness, this adversarial relationship and mistrust, which we are seeing now in the industry causing so many problems.

So what we are left with is a tradition of well paid pilots in an industry that is increasingly cost concious. Will pilots ever be valued for what they contribute to their airline? The answer is clearly no. It is just far too difficult to calculate what a pilots contribution is worth. For example, you can measure how much fuel a pilot uses to fly between A and B and compare it with his fellows but can you be sure the operating conditions were the same on the two occasions? Is fuel usage a valid criteria? If a pilot uses less fuel than his fellows for a year then diverts on one occasion because he was short of fuel did he actually save the company money in the long term?

The contribution a pilot makes to the company on a day to day basis is not quantifiable in abstract terms. How efficient he is, how safe he is or how hard he works. What do we have left then? One view would be to ask whether he gets the job done as assigned. A fairly crude measure of his contribution but, after all, that is what he is being paid for, getting the job done as assigned. If he gets the job done as assigned he is a good guy if not he gets retrained or fired. But how much do you pay someone who is "just good enough"? Do I really need a captain who has thirty years of AIRLINE FLYING flying on my 747 when a twenty year OLD fellow desperate for a job would do just as well? You can argue that when things go seriously wrong you would be happier behind a thirty year experienced fellow but can you prove that on a bean-counter's spreadsheet? No. Except in very limited areas where experience can be shown to significantly effect the bottom line it is not possible to LOGICALLY justify what a pilot pay check should be. It is not possible to LOGICALLY justify pay depending on seniority. It is barely possible LOGICALLY to justify pay based on productivity (in fact, some airlines have gone away from this idea).

So what, after all these considerations are we left with? Forte main, the strong arm. Airline management wants the lowest pay check. They know that they cannot go as low as they would like, rock bottom, because they feel, more by intuition than facts that they would be getting themselves into deep water if they needed to replace too many experienced pilots at one time. Training costs could escalate, disruptions would occur during the change over, an accident at the wrong time (for any reason) would surely reflect on them with serious legal implications. However, they can easily tell when it is an opportune time to squeeze the pilots pay check. On the other hand pilots would like to see the highest possible pay check but pilots too see the reality of the situation. They are still within their rights to go for the best deal they can get.

After all, the best way to establish pilot pay checks is free negotiations. Look at it either way. When times are good in the business and supply of pilots is low you can expect pilots to ask for the moon. On the other hand, if pilot supplies are high and companies feel they can justify the confrontation then expect to see pilot pay checks fall. What is entirely wrong is for people outside of the airline and pilot group to criticise the contract between the pilots and the airline. Both sides are consenting adults. If you approve of the other thing why criticise the sides in a contract settlement? Both sides in a contract accept what they have agreed. They might not like it and they might wish it was different but their value judgement is that they can live with what they are signing for, otherwise they should not sign. It is fine for either side to claim circumstances have changed and the contract needs to be changed but for either side to say they did not know what they were doing or that they were "forced" to do something is pure horse manure.
Old 19th Aug 2002, 00:31
  #45 (permalink)  
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For the non-pilots on this sight here are the answers to some statements which drive me crazy.

Statement. You only work 80 hours per month.
Answer. I sit in a pilots seat for 80 hours per month. I am away from home to achieve these 80 hours for something like 250 hours. This is because the company wants me to be away from home and I am on company business. If I calculate my pay check based on the time I am away from home instead of my actual flight hours my paycheck per hour is less than a quarter of what it would seem to be. It puts my paycheck in the hourly range of a well paid plumber and about what you pay per hour to get your car serviced.

Statement. Your aeroplanes land themselves.
Answer. Most modern aeroplanes can land themselves, given a properly equipped aeroplane, a properly trained crew and, more importantly, a properly equipped airport (usually the limiting factor). However, most landings are carried out the old way, by hand. The reason is that an automatic landing requires special, and time consuming, arrival procedures to be carried out by the airfield controllers. If all aircraft tried to land automatically, even if all of the airfields were properly equipped, the air traffic control system would grind to a halt at the major airports.

Statement. The computers fly the aeroplane.
Answer. Yes the computers fly the aeroplane AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN PROGRAMMED BY THE PILOT.
Unfortunately, computers are useless in real time tricky situations like avoiding thunderstorms. Without pilot intervention the computer WOULD not COULD fly you straight into weather which WOULD rip the wings off you aircraft.

Statement. Pilots are all highly paid.
Answer. The pilots at the top of the tree are highly paid, possibly 5,000 pilots. Another 25,000 pilots do quite well. Below this level it begins to stink. A new Reional Jet co=pilot makes about $21,000. In his second year the figure goes up to around $45,000. He is also spending a couple of hundred hours a month away from home, should we credit him with $21 per hour? The same as in any organisation. The guys at the top do well but the others are all trying to get there. Think about your own company.

Statement. Everyone else does the work, you just fly the 'plane.
Answer. Before Sept.11th as an aircraft captain I was responsible for planning the safe operation of the aircraft and seeing the flight was carried out efficiently and safely. It does not take much to say that but I assure you it kept you busy. In addition, I became involved when I thought it was needed in various phases of the ground operation. Since Sept.11th. I am now also involved deeply in security matters which add considerably to my preflight duties. I have been given no extra time before flight to carry out these functions. I assure you I am very busy every minute until the landing gear is raised. You cannot understand as a non-commercial pilot that the time I spend in flight in an aircraft is the time I have to relax.

I am sure other pilots can add to this list. The point is that when you talk about the job of flying and the pay check you can have no real concept of what is involved in the job. If you want to talk about our easy job and our massive pay for doing it PLEASE get the facts first!
Old 19th Aug 2002, 00:47
  #46 (permalink)  
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You are correct, you are boring, and taking up a lot of bandwidth saying the same thing over and over...
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Old 19th Aug 2002, 01:18
  #47 (permalink)  
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I guessed right that you didn't know much about CO. Except some ramblings referencing a 23 year old aviation week on the shelf of your nursing home.

I've casually read many of your posts over time, including those dripping with contempt about the major airline pilots and my airline AA. For instance," all we want is money and won't be competitive". I referenced our offer to fly the RJ's last contract in 1997. Despite this, you continue to harp about the Regionals and their cost structer. Do you know the rates we offered with a no reopener clause are less than what Comair pays now? Give me a break with the "I'm the old man, I gots experience" lecture. We all have flown with guys like you. Thank god the unions have enabled protections for FO's that speak up about your type.

Your history of posts reflects some sort of phsycological damage by a major airline or its pilots years ago. The airline hiring process unfortunately spit out alot of good people. In your case whatever it may have been, I think it is funny as hell now.
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Old 19th Aug 2002, 01:48
  #48 (permalink)  
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Sorry about that DownIn3 Green. As Winston Churchill said "I apologise for the length of my letter. I did not have time to write a short one".

Don't read unless you need to. Some of our subscribers have not lived through this history, even some of younger pilots. We need all the friends we can get right now and if a couple of Kilobytes of badly written text helps one person understand where we are coming from and it gains us one more friend I figure it was worth it.

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