Hero pilot Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger, who landed the US Airways airbus on the Hudson, has a tough message for Congress: Pilots are getting so shafted by their employers that the good ones are leaving to do something else.
Sully, for one, is paid 40% less than he was a few years ago and is maintaining a middle-class existence only because he started a consulting company on the side. Folks on the Hudson flight are no doubt glad he didn’t decide to start consulting full time.
AP: 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 per cent 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 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.”…
Sullenberger’s copilot Jeffrey B. Skiles said unless federal laws are revised to improve labour-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.”