Another problem related to “air sanctions” was revealed by Kommersant experts. According to them, the Russian aviation industry is simultaneously threatened by both the outflow of pilots abroad, which will lead to a shortage of specialists, and unemployment for the pilots themselves, “which threatens every second pilot by 2025 in the event of a decrease in passenger traffic in accordance with the pessimistic forecast of the Ministry of Transport.”
As justifications, Kommersant refers to the draft comprehensive program for the development of the air transport industry until 2030 presented by the department. According to him, the Ministry of Transport is afraid of the outflow of personnel, including pilots, to work in foreign airlines. The Ministry receives about 70 requests from foreign aviation authorities per month with a request to confirm the certificate of a specialist – accordingly, so many pilots are looking for work in foreign airlines: “These circumstances indicate a high risk of a shortage of pilots to ensure the volume of air traffic in the future,” Kommersant quotes . There were no comments from the Ministry of Transport.
On the other hand, as “experts, trade unions and pilots” commented to the publication, it is not clear from the program of the Ministry of Transport what to do in the event of a decline in traffic and the impossibility of finding employment for existing pilots. “In a pessimistic forecast, the Ministry of Transport allows their decline from 111 million in 2021 to 58.2 million people in 2025 and to 85.7 million passengers in 2030. Now in the Russian Federation about 9 thousand line pilots work on about 120 cargo and 670 passenger ships. Thus, by 2025, about half of the pilots, as well as other industry personnel, may be left without work, ”Kommersant was assured at the Air Transport Professional Qualifications Council (SPK VT, unites airlines, representatives of trade unions, the Ministry of Transport, the Federal Air Transport Agency and Rostransnadzor ). According to the latest data from the SEC VT, about 1.5 thousand or 13% of the total number of line pilots and 1.3 thousand flight attendants (5%) are idle. Most of the idle pilots, however, are cargo. The Sheremetyevo Aircrew Union (SHPLS) announced the reduction of SSJ pilots in connection with the transfer of aircraft from Aeroflot to Rossiya. Aeroflot denies this information: “At the beginning of May, it remains to employ eight commanders and 15-17 co-pilots who are in the process of registering for Rossiya.” But, as Igor Deldyuzhov, president of ShPLS, told Kommersant, 50 specialists still have “neither guarantees of employment, nor promises of compensation for downtime in connection with the transfer.” Also, Kommersant's experts record a decrease in the income of the flight crew, which can also attract pilots to look for income outside of Russia.
The average income of a ship commander at Aeroflot is now about 100,000 rubles. with a salary of 70-75 thousand rubles, and the income of the co-pilot fell to 70-80 thousand rubles. with a salary of 50-60 thousand rubles. Andrey Litvinov told Kommersant Aeroflot. “All over the world, large companies hire pilots for a fixed salary under a contract, the Russian TC does not allow this – we get it on a flight,” he said. At the same time, from the “pre-pandemic” 90 hours per month, the flight time has decreased to 20-25 hours “due to the borders closed on the occasion of covid or sanctions.” Mr. Litvinov considers the preservation of the flight crew without compensation for shortfalls in income “extremely unlikely.” In his opinion, given that it is impossible to find a job in the EU or the US, pilots can consider the CIS countries and Turkey.
On the other hand, “there is no personnel shortage anywhere in the world,” experts say. Before the pandemic, Russian crews were in demand, in particular, in China, Vietnam and South Korea.
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