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The Looming Pilot Shortage is a Myth, says ALPA

"The thousands of airline pilots who are furloughed or working overseas when they would prefer to fly for a U.S. airline and live in this country makes it clear that no shortage of trained and qualified airline pilots currently exists in the United States, according to the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l." ( More...

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Out of curiosity, what is a comparable fare on Cathay or Emirates (as indicated in this press release)? Are they making money every year? High load factors? Both of these airlines have received consistently high marks for their cabin service (especially over US domestic services), so there's no question there. Just trying to get a feel for how these airlines can pay more over what US airlines are paying and whether or not they are profitable (unlike apparently US airlines). Discuss.
preacher1 4
I personally think Moak is living in a dream world. You really can't count the ExPats as they are employed and the legacies have pretty much recalled their furloughs. You'll notice he tags all that returning group with "If conditions were right". Nice PR letter but the bottom line is that $21000 is not going to bring anybody home and therin lies the biggest problem. Even with the Comair guys walking the street, they aren't going to work for nothing and you really can't blame them, and neither would ExPats come home for that. Somebody is going to have to cough up some cash because it all comes down to that, regional or main line.
joel wiley 2
If you are unable to obtain staff to carry out your mission, then you have a staffing shortage.
Whether there is a physical shortage of qualified people, or if the qualified people refuse to work under the offered conditions is immaterial. That doesn't seem to be much of a myth.
PhotoFinish 2
“There may be a shortage of qualified pilots who are willing to fly for U.S. airlines because of the industry’s recent history of instability, poor pay, and benefits,” said Capt. Lee Moak, president of ALPA.

Does anyone else see the irony of the president of a major airline pilots union complaining that too many pilots choose to work overseas at largely non-unionized airlines that have better stability, pay and benefits than largely unionized domestic airlines?.

That pilots give up living and working in their own country because working conditions are much better elsewhere doesn't sound like a resounding endorsement of the value add of union-negotiated collective bargaining agreements.

It could be argued that the rigid pay scales arrived at through collective bargaining, in as far as these deviate from market conditions, contributes to disruption in the industry and the lack of stability at airlines that are arbitrarily restricted by these artificial pay scales.

Sometimes the pay scales get too far out of equilibrium, forcing the employing airline into financial ruin, and only bankruptcy restores equilibrium. This is instability and disruption, that artificially forcing pay scales beyond balance creates.

Isn't is wiser for professionals to be negotiate their pay directly with their employer. Works for other professionals. Seems to be working overseas for many pilots too.

My guess is that without collective bargaining agreements, starting pay for pilots would be better at both mainlines and regionals. Each airline wants to attract the best candidates, and so many would want to pay just slightly more than the others (except spirit of course and others like them).

Conversely, pay at the top would be likely be somewhat lower except the most valuable pilots, eg. those who take on additional instructional or administrative duties to justify the higher wage.

But it seems that in most collective bargaining agreements (certainly at airlines, but potentially elsewhere too), the newest hires (especially future hires) are thrown under the bus to pay for continued increasing pay for pilots with high seniority.

The current mess seems to be a direct consequence of such collusion between senior pilots, their unions and management. It's gotten so bad that working in the Middle East and Asia is sern by many pilots as preferable, even with the insanely long commutes.

That seems a sad condemnation of the added value of the ALPA president's organization to the world. They don't seem to be doing any favors to the airlines they employ their members, nor to low seniority pilots.
preacher1 3
While the ALPA dogs don't like it there is at least one legacy carrier that offers a direct contract to it's pilots rather than via ALPA. I would add that it takes a special individual because when word gets out that they have done one, the ALPA boys don't do them any favors.
Somewhere along the line the amount of pay for type of job has gotten way out of line. While all jobs are important there are some that should receive more pay than others. Low pay to those who we place our lives should NOT be among the lowest paid. COE's make mistake after mistake and get millions but it Pilots, well that would be the last one for them and maybe the passengers. I may not have worded this right but I hope you get my drift. Ask the school bus driver of your child what he or she gets paid.
PhotoFinish 0
You only assign one part of the blame. You completely overlook the role more senior pilots, and the pilots union who collude with management to pay starting pilots too little for more senior pilots to get paid more.

Without pilot unions, the top pilots may not be paid as much in many cases, but starting pay for all pilots would be higher.

The CBAs are only a legal extortion of lower seniority pilot pay, mostly for the benefit of senior pilot's pay.
shawn white 1
Ticket prices will have to go up eventually, and then the Regionals will start paying a bit more for decent pilots. That, or the 1,500 hour rule will have to be lifted or modified...
PhotoFinish 0
I'd rather my fares not go up to pay for unprofitable regional routes. Each route should carry its' own weight.

In addition fares should not go up to pay for artificial restrictions on regional profitability that mainline CBAs impose on their regional affiliates.

Besides making their own network less efficient and less competitive in the marketplace, these restrictions force higher fares on passengers, lower profitability for regional and mainline components of their airline/network, and leave less money for compensation of regional and mainline pilots (ironically) and cause financial and job instability for their airline(s) and the pilots (for whom the agreements were ionically supposed to help).


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