The United States ‘starts’ the pilot recruitment war… Korean airlines?

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American pilots are being treated 180 degrees differently than they were three years ago. This is because it is increasingly difficult to find pilots in the United States, and American airlines are competing to raise salaries all at once. However, unlike the US, the Korean aviation industry does not seem to have any major difficulties in recruiting pilots.

According to the industry on the 25th, American airlines such as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Airlines are planning to hire 8,000 new pilots this year. Due to the corona, the demand for aviation has sharply decreased and the number of pilots has been greatly reduced. This is because the demand for aviation has recently revived and the shortage of pilots is growing.

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Delta Air Lines carried out early retirement of 1,800 pilots in 2020, when Corona was in full swing. American Airlines also reduced the number of pilots from 18,550 in 2019, before the corona, to 12,700 last year.

In response, Delta Air Lines proposed unprecedented wages and welfare benefits, including a 34% increase in pilot salaries and lower health insurance premiums for four years. American Airlines also announced an average salary increase of 21% this year. In the fourth year, an announcement was made that the salary would be raised by 40% from now.

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The Korean aviation industry also went through a downturn due to the corona, but unlike the United States, pilot recruitment has not yet appeared. Industry insiders pointed to the subsidy for maintaining employment as the reason.

The employment maintenance subsidy is a system in which the government subsidizes up to 90% of labor costs when a business owner experiencing financial difficulties due to unexpected circumstances such as COVID-19 takes a temporary shutdown or leave of absence and pays shutdown allowances.

An official from Korean Air said, “Thanks to the subsidy for maintaining employment, I was able to pay 70 to 80% of my monthly salary, although not 100% of my salary.” He continued, “During the corona period, demand for passenger flights has slowed, but cargo planes have been very busy, so the pilots did not rest as much as expected.”

Asiana also said that its manpower was slightly reduced due to mergers and acquisitions and corona, but even this was focused on general workers. An Asiana official said, “The Korean airline industry went on leave, but I know that the US airlines were laid off.”

Domestic low-cost airlines such as Jeju Air and Jin Air also said that there is no shortage of pilots.

Jeju Air, the largest low-cost airline in Korea, said, “There is no shortage of pilots yet,” and “Rather, we are hiring new cabin crew members due to a shortage of some.”

Source: Donga

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