An alternative title could be: “Aviation: from PANAM to RYANAIR”. In other words, the glamorous days of aviation are a thing of the past. Those were the days!. When pilots seemed to be “The Right Stuff”, chosen for glory, the most admired and envied professionals in the world. Nowadays, these same professionals are fighting just to earn a living.
In Spain the number of unemployed pilots grows day by day. The salary of a first officer in a typical Spanish airline is similar to that of a waiter. What is more, the first officer often has to invest his own money to qualify for his job. Where the Iberia of old would pay for type rating, the new Iberia express expects crew to pay for their own type rating (similar to their first year’s salary).
Air Traffic Controllers had better get used to this Brave New World too. 30 years after pilots went through the breakup of ENA-IBERIA (pilot school and airline), the public monopoly of SENASA-AENA (ATC school and provider) has also been broken up. The effect of new controllers and new conditions will inevitably affect the position of controllers in the job market.
The airline market is in a race to the bottom. The love affair with low cost means that other business models find it almost impossible to survive. Taking this to its logical conclusion there will be only room for one survivor. In Europe, Ryanair maybe? Lets hope the future is not so logical…