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Old 12-21-2005, 04:58 PM   #1  
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mooneymite's Avatar
Joined APC: Dec 2005
Position: FE, FO, CAPT.
Posts: 200
Default Pilot Pay...looking ahead.

I read most of the six pages of posts on the “Teacher Salary” thread. There were many good thoughts; there were lots of differences of opinion. Most of the facts/figures concentrated on pilot pay now. Thirty years ago, when I was looking at an airline career, this thread would not have even gotten started. Airline pilots made more than the President of the United States, more than Supreme Court Justices. The common perception was that airline pilots made almost as much as God. That was “then”, and we have had a well-rounded look at “now” in the “Teacher Salary” thread. Let’s look at the future.

The pilot groups at the majors are all in a race to have the lowest pay scale in a misguided effort to “save their airline”. Since the majors have been dragging non-major pilots’ pay upward for years, it is reasonable to suppose that all pilots’ pay will be negatively impacted. There are those who maintain that pilot pay has gone up and down and we’re just in a “down time”. However, if you look at the overall trend since deregulation, it is definitely DOWN. If you plot it against inflation, it is really DOWN.

ALPA was effective under deregulation and has maintained some control over pilot pay at large airlines where a strike threat is real, but ALPA cannot hold back the ocean. It might have a chance if there were a national seniority list, but there’s no membership support for such a measure. Bottom line: ALPA can slow the erosion, but it can’t turn the tide.

Two major factors have spelled the death-knell for pilot pay:

1. Airlines are designed and constructed to never show a profit. USAir has beaten up its employees for 23 years by showing a loss for 3 out of those 23 years. Somehow, it managed to keep its planes flying all that time…strange isn’t it! If you haven’t figured it out, the money is siphoned off to the leasors.

2. Pilots have been supplemented with technology to the point were there is less and less need for technically skilled (read “highly paid”) people. In fact, given the recent advances in ADS-B, datalink, “smart-autoflight systems, and automated systems monitoring and control, I see the advent of single-pilot commercial airliners where the one pilot is only a “safety pilot”; he will not fly the aircraft except in an emergency. The aircraft will be flown by ground controllers/computers in a much more precise environment than today using UAV technology that is here now. If you don’t think that’s going to affect career progression and pay, take another look.

If you’re thinking of becoming a pilot for the pay, don’t. Only do it if you love it and be prepared for a diminishing role in the cockpit of the future.

Last edited by mooneymite; 12-21-2005 at 05:18 PM.
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