What happened to the airline industry?
I am a certified private pilot finishing up my instrument rating at a part 141 flight school. By the end of all of my training it is going to cost me $40,000 and in return when I get hired by a regional they will only pay me $20,000 at most. I remember piloting used to be a highly respected job, and personally I think it should still be. But airline pilots are being furloughed, getting treated like crap by management, the FAA, Air Traffic controllers, etc. Now being a pilot is my dream job, but there are so many contributing factors that seems to take the joy out of an airline job. Any pilots out there or any one in the industry that can give me some feedback please?
Asked By: Philip - 10/30/2009
I can tell you what happened first hand, son. I was there!....right in the middle of it!..........The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978!....that's what happened!
Back then, some egg-head economists and politicians (and, behind the scenes, believe-it-or-not not a few airlines; American and United, specifically) put their collective "intellects" together, got the ears of Congress and the President and decided that a U.S. industry that was a crown jewel in the world of Commercial Aviation, would somehow operate more efficiently and competitively than it did, so efficiently, for YEARS, under government regulation of the route systems and ticket prices.
Almost overnight, new airlines were born; all you needed were airplanes, crews, money and the desire. Want to fly from Dallas to Honolulu? Go right ahead, sir. No prior approval needed.....Never mind that Braniff International, one of the greatest airlines ever to see the light of day, already had the route and was doing quite nicely with about 80?o 90?oad factor. Enter American airlines with THEIR 747 and a daily flight. Well, you might be able to fill up ONE Boeing 747 out of Dallas, but you sure as heck can't fill up TWO of them.
Now, just imagine this same scenario on any number of routes and think of the bottom line effect free entry into the route system would have on an airline's profits.
This is only one example.....think, also. of new airlines coming in without the cost of union labor contracts...Airline Pilots Associations...Teamsters...etc. that ALL the established carriers had to deal with. They were able to price their seats at levels the established carriers couldn't match. (very clever way to break a union no?.......now I'm not saying that's what some front offices may have had in mind, BUT makes you wonder doesn't it?)
Now, you're going to think, "well, golly, if ONE airline can compete on my route, I can do the same thing to him, can't I?" Sure you can! If you hadn't already taken out a bunch of mortgages on new airplanes to build those profitable routes, you could have competed with, say, American, on her L.A. to N.Y. routes.....the bigger, well-established airlines such as American, United etc. could handle deregulation..they had big war-chests of money...the smaller, growing airlines like Braniff couldn't do it.
Anyway.....the years passed by with upstart airline's (Southwest et al) 737s stuffed full of sweating, passengers thrilled at having paid $100 round trip to fly from Dallas. to L.A.....
Meanwhile, as losses mounted on several established carriers: Braniff, Eastern, Pan American, Continental, Ozark, Frontier, the CEO's got progressively bolder in their contract negotiations. "...sorry, fellas, gonna have to take a pay cut...fly longer hours...more days in the month...less off-duty time at your layover stop..etc. etc.......it's either that or we're closing the doors!"
I could go on and on here, but it would really take a book to tell the whole story....bankruptcies, firings, furloughs, the whole 9 yards...progressively evolving into a system that, just a few months ago, produced an airliner, full of people, waiting, due to weather, on the ground for take-off for what was it...14 hours?? ...Continental Express, I think...so, sue me if I'm wrong....
I'm not here to list horror stories....look 'em up....nor do I have an axe to grind....I was lucky....yeah, I lost my job, but I went overseas to Asia and Europe and flew over there.......Now, I live in Italy and you know what?.....Deregulation just failed Alitalia!.....maybe I'm carrying a virus and don't know it......
Answered By: pilota300b4 - 10/31/2009