Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Sunday | February 1, 2009
Home : Letters
In defence of pilots' salaries
The Editor, Sir:

The recent celebrated instance of the US Airways pilots saving over 150 souls, having experienced a rare double-engine failure after a bird strike, highlights the fact that in an emergency, airline pilots are expected to utilise their training and experience to make split-second decisions under great pressure in order to bring about a safe outcome.

It may not be realised, however, that on a daily basis pilots have to make operational decisions and carry out tasks that, if poorly handled, could quickly turn into disasters. Take-offs, approaches and landings are some of the most dangerous phases in aircraft operations, and these dangers increase exponentially when low visibility, wind shear, thunderstorms, cold weather operations and airspace congestion are involved. Pilots are paid to manage these risks, and if it all seems routine to the average person, it is a testament to the training, skill, experience and commitment to safety that we as airline pilots possess.

lower earnings

If that is coupled with the fact that it usually takes many years of hard work and significantly lower earnings to get that coveted airline job, and that at anytime during your required yearly/six-monthly medical exams you can discover you have a career-ending condition, then all thing considered, I think airline pilots in general, and Air Jamaica's pilots in particular, if not underpaid, at least deserve every penny they earn.

I am, etc.,



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