On Thursday Nov.15th, the Diane Rehm show, a radio program on NPR, produced by Washington’s own WAMU had a very interesting discussion. The topic in question was the impact of the strict new regulations being adopted by airlines after the Colgan Air flight 3407 crash. While the changes were needed – that fatal air crash was the result of pilot error – some experts are arguing that the requirements are too strict and will result in a pilot shortage in the near future. You can find a transcript on the entire show on the Diane Rehm show website. Here are some key points I caught as I listened to a part of the program (In full disclosure, I was unable to listen to the entire show):
- The allure of the airline pilot career has faded somewhat
- Pilots, especially new pilots for regional carriers are not paid enough. A $18,000 starting salary is not at all commiserate with the cost of getting trained as a pilot and with the responsibility that goes with being one
- Pilots are in a global marketplace. Airlines overseas are paying much better salaries than US based airlines, attracting many of our pilots
- Another reason pilots are going to overseas airlines is due to the financial state of the US based airlines
- Some of the requirements – such as hours flown – to get a pilots license are very arbitrary
- The number of pilots retiring in the coming years far outpaces the number of new pilots coming into the market
What do you think? I am not an expert when it comes to flying; I am just a passenger who wants to be safe when flying. Share your comments below – please point out if you are a pilot or in the aviation or airline industry.