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Tells Lawmakers The State Of The Airline Industry Is In Disarray

Future is bleak for pilots, US Airways hero laments

Nelson Alcantara  Feb 25, 2009

When you have a decorated pilot tell lawmakers that he does “not know a single professional airline pilot who wants his or her children to follow in their footsteps,” not only is the future of the profession at great risk, the message does not bode well for the aviation industry. Especially at a time when advancements, such as Airbus’ A380 and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, are being made.

Heralded as hero for a feat many consider impossible - landing a crippled airplane in the Hudson River safely and saving everyone onboard, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger told US lawmakers Tuesday that the state of the airline industry is in disarray.

In a testimony before a House subcommittee, along with others involved in last month's emergency landing of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, Sullenberger said, “Americans have experienced huge economic difficulties in recent months, but airline employees have been experiencing those challenges and more for eight years.”

He added, “We've been hit by an economic tsunami, September 11, bankruptcies, fluctuating fuel prices, mergers, loss of pensions, and revolving-door management teams who have used airline employees as an ATM."

Sullenberger told US lawmakers that the economic decline has hit the airline industry so hard that "the airline piloting profession will not be able to continue to attract the best and the brightest."

According to Sullenberger, "the current experience and skills of our country's professional airline pilots come from investments made years ago when we were able to attract ambitious, talented people who now frequently seek professional careers elsewhere.”

Future is bleak for pilots, US Airways hero laments
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