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Mai_Tube&Pipe_125x180_4c.indd 1

22.02.2016 10:22:18






Making plain her position on this change, Ms Murphy asserted

that it “translates to years of flight instructing or flying on

the often hair-raising fringes of aviation” – aerial pipeline

inspecting, banner towing, corpse transport, and the like –

for meager wages and often in poorly maintained equipment,

before earning accreditation to fly for a regional airline.

Other reasons advanced by Ms Murphy for slippage in the

appeal of a once-glamorous career – “all mirrored sunglasses

and swagger” – include several more years of low pay (about

$26,000); unpredictable schedules and undesirable routes;

and the surrender of nights, weekends and holidays before

“gaining a shot” at employment with a major airline like Delta,

United, Southwest or American. “Even those pilots living the

dream of flying for a mainline carrier say that in reality it’s a

highly automated, button-pushing kind of job with advancement

based on seniority rather than merit,” wrote Ms Murphy.

Tim Canoll, a Delta pilot and president of the Air Line

Pilots Association, summed up what this means for the

commercial airlines of the United States: “The real problem the

industry is facing is, young people aren’t making the decision

to become an airline pilot.”

Putting the developing pilot shortage in a time-frame,

Faye Malarkey Black, president of the Regional Airline

Association, said that hiring is not yet a huge problem for the

major carriers because regional carriers serve as their pilot

pipeline. But, she told the


’s Ms Murphy, “The number

of pilots the majors are going to need in the coming years will

burn through our entire work force unless there’s some sort of


Briefly noted . . .

The low-cost European airline Norwegian Air Shuttle has

won preliminary approval to expand its no-frills operations

into the United States. The April announcement from the

Transportation Department is a victory for the airline, which

started flights to the US three years ago but whose application

to certify its Irish subsidiary was bitterly opposed by domestic

airlines and labour unions for more than two years.

The issue rapidly became a major test case, pitting proponents

of the open skies agreement between European Union

countries and the US against those worried that Norwegian’s

business model would lower wages and labour standards for

American and European pilots and flight attendants.

As noted by Jad Mouawad in the

New York Times

(15 April),

the effort by Norwegian to introduce low-fare flights over

lucrative long-haul routes is shaking up the global airline

industry. It flies the latest generation of planes and outsources

some of its flight crews.

Dorothy Fabian, Features Editor (USA)