Letter from the DFO – Page 2 – PPRuNe Forums

Given his stated YTD resignation rate of 3.5%, and given that we are only seven months into the year, projecting his stated resignation numbers to year end results is a resignation rate well over 5%…and that’s OK? According to his email the cost of replacing swathes of experienced pilots is not really that bad…it’s somehow a normal thing — a good thing — something that they have budgeted for. Anyone who has balanced a cheque book would squint at such a comment. Just from a cost standpoint alone, the loss of experienced pilots would be ringing alarm bells in any other legacy airline. According to the email, losing pilots with experience and replacing them with brand new zero time pilots, and a few low time pilots, makes financial good sense, and is something to trumpet and laud?


All in all, the email was a call to ignore my lying eyes. Anyone with a pulse can see what is really happening. It should not have been written in such a tone…especially at this critical time when negotiations should be drawing to a close. Instead of a convincing pitch for the Company and pilots to come together I predict it will have the opposite effect and put off large numbers of pilots.

He sounded a little subdued when he said he had to make do with 1200sq ft place paid for completely by the government, but was content that it was in a lovely country village within walking distance to the local village green where he could watch cricket on a Sunday and enjoy a pint in a lovely 18th century pub. He asked how my asthma was holding up, which I had to admit had got worse.

I went on to say that I’m working for a company that pays me well above the normal rate, “they said so themselves”. He said he made do on the £550 he got free from the government and but even managed to have £150 spare for himself after costs, (as pretty much everything else was paid for except the satellite tv and his iPhone 10).I relented that in fact it was slightly more than the £100 I was left with at the end of the month after my costs of living in my cosmopolitan city were deducted. I had however, managed to pay back the HSBC loans that I needed to live here for the first 5 years as a second officer.

I decided to tell him how I was a pilot and got 2 days a week where I actually felt normal and could rest and enjoy the local TV (which I preferred to do as the weather was a little hot and my asthma usually played up if I went outside). He said sometimes he got bored with having 7 days a week to himself to pursue all his past times as it was too much time. However, a restful day watching cricket on a Sunday in the fresh air with a nice pint helped him.

I added that my children were getting a very academic education and that they didn’t like sports very much anyhow. It was actually quite reasonably priced for the cosmopolitan city I was living in even though I had seen a better and cheaper one overseas but the company wouldn’t pay for. He said he got free education for his children and that they usually were out late playing on the fields and in the creek…but he didn’t mind as he got time to watch the cricket whilst they played in the fresh air.

I went on to tell him that it was a very stimulating job with lots of time reading on my 2 normal days off to perfect my skills and that I thrive on all the stress and sleepless nights. He genuinely preferred to sleep 7 nights a week and said he found the sudoku in the local paper stimulating enough, which he did during the cricket breaks.

I added that we were in negotiations for higher wages so we didn’t have to eat the poisoned agriculture from mainland China, higher accommodation allowance so the children didn’t have to share our bed and overseas education so the children could get a reasonable education to follow in my footsteps. He said he wished us luck but had to go as the cricket was starting.

Another question: do our main competitors (BA/QF/LH/AF/DL/AA etc…) experience anywhere near that percentage of resignations? I seriously doubt it. In fact, almost NOBODY in those airlines resigns for reasons other than health related……..Your comment regarding our "package" being above industry standard is laughable, when you are talking about people living in the most expensive city on earth. If it’s so competitive, explain how my nephew with BA (25 yrs old ) has just purchased his own HOUSE in a suburb of London, and owns two cars, wife not having to work)As a 25 year old in BA I would imagine he is on PP 1-4 at most (that’s assuming he’s a DEP, if FPP then it’s out of the question totally) and I can categorically tell you that there is no way in hell he has obtained that kind of money from the bank based on his current salary without a ****ing sizeable deposit from money outside his current remuneration from BA, particularly as banks will only lend against half the variable elements of the salary now we’ve gone back to Variable Flying Pay.

On the first point, plenty of junior captains are leaving BA right now to go back to their LCC’s. Junior Long Haul FOs jumping ship too to go to KLM, Virgin and elsewhere. BA is no utopia nowadays, even when compared to Cathay. With the new CEO taking position, Air France pilots must be readying themselves for a sizeable dispute with management regarding pay and conditions. Conclusion? It’s crap everywhere now mate, quite how we’ve got into this position with a shortage going on I don’t know but we must as a pilot community capitalise on it as best we can