Safety Worries Mount as Regional Airlines Soar

Pilot pay and training eyed amid recent accidents
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 15, 2009 11:26 AM CDT
In this 2006 file photo, a Comair jet, below, taxis to the terminal at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Ky.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Regional airlines have risen to new heights in recent years as major carriers outsource to the smaller firms. But as the regional outfits have grown, so have safety concerns, reports the Chicago Tribune. Pilots for the smaller airlines are often driven by modest salaries to work overtime, and some wonder whether they’re getting adequate training amid a series of recent accidents.

While smaller airlines are held to the same safety and training standards as larger ones, the big carriers devote up to five times as much cash to pilot pay, benefits, and training. “We’re professionals who are responsible for so many lives day in and day out, yet we are so severely underpaid,” says one new pilot, who makes about $22,000 a year.