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One of my former instructors told me that the RJs are driving down the majors' salaries because the Mesas and Air Wisconsins of the world can fly shorter, traditionally mainline routes (SEA to SFO, for example) in an RJ with a lower-paid crew more cheaply than the Uniteds and US Airs flying 737s with more senior crews.
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Ouch! Suggesting that Mesa and Air Wisconsin are equal airlines is insulting.
Okay, let's place the blame where it belongs, since we're already comming out swinging... To dispel this whole ALPA generated "regional airlines are STEALING mainline jobs, let us not forget that this whole fire started long, long ago when, after deregulation, airlines failed to make the transition from "government funded" to "money making business". The fact that your Uniteds and Deltas and Americans have just now suddenly realized that not making a profit is a Bad Thing(tm) doesn't mean that this business constant suddenly came into being! Just ask a former Eastern, Braniff, PSA or TWA pilot or mechanic how well that contract that topped out at $245,000/yr worked out for them. Ask them how that "full pay to the last day" method of negotiation advanced their career?
Okay, I'm getting a touch off the point. forgive me, I'm genuinely angered by this. I make $29,000 as a dispatcher for Air Wisconsin. I work with other dispatchers who've been here for 2 and a half years and haven't gotten a raise, and we've been working on trying to get our first contract for the last 10 months, and it looks like it's going to be another year at least, at the rate things are going. Believe it or not, at $29,000 a year, I'm on the higher end of regional dispatcher compensation. I make over $10,000 a year more then a new Mesa F/O. I make $8000 more then a Mesa dispatcher. Thanks to Mesa and their "industry leading pilot contract", everyone from me, the regional dispatcher, to the mainline pilot loses.
In a way, this was inevitable. Jets were going to replace turboprops, and inevitably the number of seats in them were going to increase, and now with the CRJ-900s and the likes comming on board, the once bold black line that seperated the "mainline jet" from the "regional" is blurring. Trouble is, the pay-rates are not.
So, how does this get fixed? Well, it won't be. At least, not until Mesa folds in on itself, and so long as mainline carriers continue to choose cost over quality in their selection of regional carriers, this won't be any time soon. I'm no Aviation Business major, but I just can't see how subjecting your paying customers to 75% completion rates and crews that would make more managing a McDonalds, know it, act like they know it, and see home less often then an Over the Road truck driver is going to win the hearts and wallets of the flying public!
The flying public asked for it, and now they're getting it. Thanks to Mesa, we can all look forward to tired pilots, irritable agents, incompetent operations staff and maintanence done by the lowest bidder with no interest in the quality of their work other then to satisfy the letter of the law.
21 people have already paid for that.
So, before taking aim at us regional pukes who are just trying (and failing) to feed our families, perhaps one should consider what, and who, brought us to this point?