(WASHINGTON) – The following is the official statement of Teamsters Airline Division Director Capt. David Bourne on the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) 2014 Aviation Workforce report, “Current and Future Availability of Airline Pilots”:
“I’m pleased that the GAO has confirmed what we in the airline industry have known for years – the starting wage structure in the regional airline industry has not only kept qualified pilots away, it has deterred many from entering the field.
“In a field that requires not only an extremely high level of training and professionalism and, unlike others, requires semi-annual proficiency checks and medical evaluations – with a failure of either potentially ending a pilot’s career – the current levels of pay for many in the regional industry are inexcusable.
“The issue causing the shortage is not a lack of skill, it is the inability for many pilots to survive on wages below the poverty level. When faced with that reality and the investment of the money and time required to enter the industry, there is no incentive for them to make the commitment. It is time for the industry to recognize pilots for the professionals they are and compensate them accordingly. When we see pilots paid in a manner commensurate with their skills, training and professionalism, we will see the shortage abate.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico including more than 80,000 workers throughout the airline industry in every craft and class. Visitwww.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.