Sullenberger Warns Pays Cuts Driving Out Best Pilots

Discussion in 'Modern' started by ToughOmbre, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger says cuts that followed airline bankruptcies after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks coupled with the current recession have placed pilots and their families in an untenable financial situation.

    The pilot who safely ditched a jetliner in New York's Hudson River said Tuesday that pay and benefit cuts are driving experienced pilots from careers in the cockpit.

    US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger told the House aviation subcommittee that his pay has been cut 40 percent in recent years and his pension has been terminated and replaced with a promise "worth pennies on the dollar" from the federally created Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. These cuts followed a wave of airline bankruptcies after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks compounded by the current recession, he said.

    "The bankruptcies were used by some as a fishing expedition to get what they could not get in normal times," Sullenberger said of the airlines. He said the problems began with the deregulation of the industry in the 1970s.

    The reduced compensation has placed "pilots and their families in an untenable financial situation," Sullenberger said. "I do not know a single, professional airline pilot who wants his or her children to follow in their footsteps."

    The subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee heard from the crew of Flight 1549, the air traffic controller who handled the flight and aviation experts to examine what safety lessons could be learned from the Jan. 15 accident which all 155 people aboard survived.

    Sullenberger's copilot Jeffrey B. Skiles said unless federal laws are revised to improve labor-management relations "experienced crews in the cockpit will be a thing of the past." And Sullenberger added that without experienced pilots "we will see negative consequences to the flying public."

    Sullenberger himself has started a consulting business to help make ends meet. Skiles added, "For the last six years, I have worked seven days a week between my two jobs just to maintain a middle class standard of living."

    TO
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I take that with mixed views - yes the major airlines have hacked pilot's wages, but at the same time you're still looking at Captains making as much as $140K for flying an Airbus 319s and as much as $250K for a 747 captain depending on the airline, but rest assured the salaries are similar.

    While it’s true those who have to start at the very bottom of the industry (those flying commuters) are only making $20K a year, the road to get the ratings may put a young professional pilot in hock for a few years but this is something that should be obvious prior to getting into this industry.

    If someone can't make their ends meet by getting paid $20K a year, I could understand, but $140K?!?!?
     
  3. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    The ones who are living paycheck to paycheck and would be devastated with a paycheck missing are the $100,000 to $200,000 range. Just enough money to get yourself in trouble, believe me I know how much you actually take home after bennies and taxes.

    The airline business always seemed to me to be one of those trades like a roughneck or a linemen, good pay but crappy lifestyle.
     
  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Very true, its a matter of self disipline. Many of these guys have been divorced a few times so that don't help either. It is a crappy lifestyle, my father in law was miserable the last year he was with United.
     
  5. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Throw in what happened to the United Airlines pension plan back in 2005. Talk about getting screwed. Pilots, flight attendants, mechanics all lost big retirement bucks.

    TO
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    That they did - my father in law probably lost about $500,000 but was still able to retire with a decent pension. He also had 20 years with the Air Force so he gets a pension from Uncle Sam as does Capt. Sullenberger and many other senior United Captains. Let's see, $140,000 a year plus at least a $40000 a year retirement and you can't make your ends meet?

    Either you have very large "ends" or something is very wrong.
     
  7. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Like many people, their "ends" are way too big. Many of the folks in trouble today are those who were, and I emphasise the word were, making a lot of money. Big houses, huge mortgages, multiple expensive cars, etc., etc.

    TO
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Very True.

    My father in lw was a Standards Captain (Basically an instructor and the guy who gave check rides). He was working at the training center in Denver and was probably making 250K a year, then 911 happened.

    Eventually he went back on the line and saw his salary cut by about 100K. When he was making the big bucks he was real tempted to go out and buy some high dollar value items, instead he paid off his house. Smart move!
     
  9. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I expect a lot of people would love to make the kind of money that airline captains do, today and anyday, especially with the hours they put in.
     
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