Economics of Air Travel Catching Up to Pilots

Which requires more skill, safely piloting a regional puddle jumper, mostly manually and at low altitude, or flying a jumbo 747 transatlantic from London to New York City?

Following the recent Air France pilot strike, members on the Business Traveller forums engage in a fascinating discussion about the value of pilots, and their short- and long-term compensation prospects.

I think the explosion of air travel over the past decade or so has caused the reduction in prices of all things aviation, fares in real terms, salary in the sector, even the aircraft are cheaper now than a decade ago in real terms. … Airlines are rife with overpaid ( including some pilots) staff doing a job they think should not have changed since the 747 first flew. ~MrMichael

…speaking to Pilot friends they mainly agree that working on highland and island routes, on smaller aircraft, utilizes greater aviation skills and is more problematic.


The salary is more based up the responsibility … and archaic legacy agreements ~BigDog

…while legacy pilots such as those at AF may hold the dam with their fingers just a little longer, the force of change (not necessarily all for the good) will swamp them in time. ~TominScotland

How would you feel if you knew the pilot on your next transatlantic flight either just received a major pay cut, or was much younger and less experienced than the pilot currently flying that route? Do you trust that air travel has reached a level of safety that no longer requires as experienced a pilot?

And would you ever consider booking a seat on a remotely controlled “drone” aircraft?

Read the thread in its entirety: Commercial pressure is changing the function of the pilot

Image: “American Airlines friendly pilot” by Maarten Visser. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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