Murphy's Law: Airlines Lose Their Military Edge


January 2, 2010: For nearly half a century, the military faced heavy losses of pilots, because commercial flying offered higher pay, safer working conditions, and less time away from the family. Deregulation (of the air transportation industry) and prosperity (especially in the 1990s), has changed all that. While 90 percent of new hires in U.S. commercial aviation had military flying experience right after the Cold War ended, only 30 percent do today. The main reason for that is the deregulation of the airlines three decades ago. By the early 1990s, air fares had dropped 30 percent (after accounting for inflation). More people were flying, and more often. The economic boom of the 1990s enabled more new, no frills, low cost airlines to enter the business. These drove down the salaries for pilots, especially new hires. Meanwhile, the pay for military pilots went up. As a result, more and more military pilots decided to stay in uniform. Commercial aviation had finally lost its appeal for military pilots, and it's unlikely that pay for commercial pilots will ever return to its former heights.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close