Actually, it IS a big deal.
I agree. It would be fairly easy for junior pilots to say, “Good riddance.” But a few minutes of reflection should give pause to that sentiment.
What we are presented with here is an incredibly complex issue, especially for career-minded professionals. Those, including myself, near the exit point, who have invested decades of our lives in our professional commitment to this employer are faced with some very speculative, and for the most part unattractive options, given the ill-health not only of our employer, but of our defined benefit pension plans.
There is no guarantee, given the uncertainty, that if I were to elect to leave right now, that my pension would be secure. It is divided into two components, one-half of which is almost completely unsecured—it is comprised only of a “promise to pay” by an employer that, by filing its second CCAA, would say its liabilities exceed its assets.
The other half is made up of a requirement for funding that is based largely upon assets that are not liquid or present. Some discount to its pay-out is almost inevitable.
For those who think that Air Canada won’t meet the fate of Canada 3000, Greyhound or Nationair, and for those who think some sort of bailout is inevitable, I would like to share some of what you are smoking, but my sense of reality prohibits that. This is 2012, not 1989.
For those who think that this is not everyone’s problem, I shudder. We are all in this together, and never has there been a greater need for more cohesion. That will become painfully evident sooner than we wish, as I see things unfolding.
There are two levels to this issue, as I see it. First, there is an immediate operational problem. How does the airline manage its schedule with so many unpredictable absences and disgruntled employees, pending the arrival of the big decision? The airline’s schedule is predicated on the availability of X number of pilots in each position. That number is clearly prejudiced in the senior ranks, given these very real effects.
Second, even if it could put pilots in the proper seats in time to manage its present schedule, how does its solve the underlying problem that shows every sign of decaying the airline’s ability to manage its crew planning in the short-term?
It would be easy to say that that is management’s problem, or it's management's fault. But really, it is everyone’s problem, and it doesn't matter what caused the problem--the problem is serious and must be dealt with.