It is surmised by many pilots within our association and elsewhere that the traveling public would be more than a little disturbed by what they might learn from testimony of experienced line pilots, particularly with regard to what has transpired concerning external pressures that have been exerted during and after the post-9/11 bankruptcies to present.
With all due respect to their offices, members of Congress and the Department of Transportation have limited knowledge and no line experience as a commercial pilot. Consequently, it would seem reasonable that these agencies of government would be most eager to receive testimony from all available sources, given what has been reported recently in the media of pilot suppression and other matters in the aftermath of the Colgan Air disaster. Hopefully, Captain Sullenberger will address these same safety concerns in his upcoming book.
Numerous trunk airline first officers have privately admitted working full-time jobs outside their airline pilot employment as a result of taking up to a 60% reduction in pay the past several years. These outside jobs provide their primary source of income as augmented by their airline salary. Some of these same individuals have started their own businesses with the intent of resigning from their airline jobs at their earliest convenience, admitting that the continued harassment and intimidation, poor morale, working, and pay conditions, coupled with the instability within the industry no longer make the pilot job and extensive family separation attractive to them.
Additionally, senior active airline captains from trunk carriers are working minimum schedules to escape this hazardous environment, but must remain employed because they cannot afford to retire as a result of their pension and, in some cases ESOP stock loss, during the post-9/11 bankruptcy processes. Contrary to what some might imagine, it does count just how many times a pilot walks down the jet way in their career with regard to airline safety issues. Degradation of morale amongst cockpit and cabin crew as a result of extraneous pressures serves as a distraction and degradation to issues of safety. Anyone who has ever occupied either seat of a commercial jet aircraft realize this, while others with no line experience as a pilot cannot conceive of this being the case.
Unequivocally, issues of commercial aviation safety must necessarily be maintained in a vacuum without the impediment of external financial, legal, and political pressures and influences exerted on aircrew members wishing to report known safety deficiencies for fear of undue recriminations by management, the FAA, or contempt of implicit court ruling pressures, or possible dismissal via the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), as has been reported in the media of late. Unless current federal aviation regulations are amended to reflect a change in this regard, appropriate and immediate redress by some agency of the federal government is immediately imperative. Employees cannot afford to wait an additional 30-180 days for a DOT or congressional response. Airline pilots’ careers and passenger safety are otherwise at risk.
… there is much more – where this came from!