On June 19, the Miami Herald published a column by Captain Billyray Read, chairman of the Allied Pilots Association’s Miami Domicile. Here is an excerpt:
Left unchecked, flags of convenience could kick off a race to the bottom in airline standards and decimate our industry. The U.S. Senate has a chance to protect it — but only if it acts quickly.
Under these schemes, airlines choose the location of their headquarters in countries with relaxed regulatory structures, allowing them to pay workers — including pilots and flight attendants — lower wages, sometimes forgoing long-held labor and safety standards. This approach also allows airlines to hire crews from countries around the world where such standards do not apply.
As a pilot, this is a non-starter. This approach undermines what we call a “safety culture,” which is centered on putting passengers first by upholding rigorous safety requirements and immediately reporting any concerns. Contract pilots flying for decentralized, flag-of-convenience airlines are incentivized by those airlines to care more about their next flight than the airline’s entire operation.