Monday, August 25, 2008
Military Pilots Taking Airline Jobs Face Penalty
Chile's armed forces are imposing a new measure to slow the exodus of pilots leaving for lucrative jobs with airlines. Any pilot who leaves the military with less than 10 years of service will need to pay a penalty of 15 million pesos, or about US$28,750. Air Force commander Gen. Ricardo Ortega told El Mercurio that for every 25 pilots that join FACh each year, another 20 make their way to airlines. The average FACh salary for a pilot is US$1,725 a month, while airlines can pay roughly five times that much. Thus, it would take a pilot a couple of months' salary at an airline to pay off the early-exit penalty. Ortega said the military is devising incentives to keep more pilots. Despite sharp reductions in aircraft, FACh is having a hard time staffing its combat fleet with a benchmark of 3.5 pilots per plane. Training costs for warplane and transport pilots run about US$7 million each. A single F-16 course costs US$2 million. The new policy goes into effect next year.