Leadership From the Cockpit
This week in Washington, D.C., ALPA hosted its 62nd Air Safety Forum, an annual event that brings together airline pilots, subject-matter experts, and government and industry partners for in-depth discussions to drive improvements in aviation safety, security, and pilot health. During the four-day event, ALPA honored outstanding contributions by pilots and featured panels that addressed long-standing and emerging issues in key safety areas.
Guest Commentary by Sam Pool, Envoy Master Executive Council Chairman
Becoming an airline pilot has never been a cheap or easy proposition. It requires extensive education, training, and experience. The career tack for aspiring pilots is challenging—and expensive.
Logic would dictate that those who endure and succeed would be rewarded with pay and benefits that match the investment. However, many regional airlines are not adapting––starting pilot salaries at many remain less than $30,000.
Nowhere is this failure to adapt more evident than in the so-called “pilot shortage.” To be clear, there is no shortage of individuals qualified or interested in becoming qualified to fly airliners. However, there is absolutely a shortage of individuals willing to assume the responsibilities of an airline pilot for the compensation currently being offered. Compelling evidence indicates that this shortage can be mitigated––those airlines that offer higher compensation are having no problems finding pilots to fly their planes.
August 19 is National Aviation Day in the United States, originally established in 1939 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to celebrate the development of aviation. This day coincides with the anniversary of the birth of Orville Wright, who was born on August 19, 1871, and, along with his brother, Wilbur, is credited with building and flying a machine that pioneered the way for the modern airplane.
ALPA congratulates U.S.-based cabin crew members for Norwegian Air’s operations on their recent vote in favor of union representation by the Norwegian Cabin Crew Association.
As the world’s largest airline pilot union, ALPA is celebrating 85 years of championing high labor standards for North American airline industry workers and fair competition in the international marketplace.
The U.S.-based Norwegian Air cabin crew serves in long-haul operations and work intercontinental flights between Europe and the United States, and Thailand. Norwegian Air currently serves U.S. destinations including Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, Orlando, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
In a letter published in the August 9 edition of the Irish Times, Capt. Evan Cullen, president of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (IALPA), points out that “Norwegian Airlines can easily operate from Cork to the U.S. tomorrow under their previously agreed terms and conditions.”
Cullen notes, “It is extraordinary that so many Irish agencies appear happy to promote the NAI proposal, while ignoring the potential damage it can do to the existing employment standards,” and that “Most surprisingly, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has been an active supporter of NAI’s proposal, straying a long way from its function as the aviation safety regulator.”