Source Pravda.Ru

Air Traffic Controller Union President: Low pay to cause dangerous skies

If air traffic controllers pay does not increase in the next couple of years, no one will provide the navigation for air transportation in Russia, said President of the Russian Federation of Trade Unions of Air Traffic Controllers Sergey Kovalyov today.

He said that fewer young specialists are going into the profession because of the low level of pay of air traffic controllers. At the present time, the average age of air traffic controllers is 45, said Kovalyov. In the North, 45 is considered retirement age, and at the present time 90% of air traffic controllers working in the northern region are pensioners. Kovalyov says that the leadership is doing nothing to attract younger specialists to the profession. 'We demand an increase in pay so that younger specialists join the profession.

Kovalyov also said that young specialists receive USD 165 per month, while air traffic controllers with 10-years experience in Saratov receive USD 233 per month, in Samara USD 330. He said that increasing the pay of air traffic controllers would not effect the cost of air tickets. The cost of aviation navigation is not only the pay of air traffic controllers but also the cost of technical service and electricity, he said. For a USD 132 dollar ticket, a passenger pays only USD 1.32 for the security of the air route. The trade union has been battling for a 28% increase in pay for air traffic controllers since December 2002. If that were to happen, the cost of air tickets would increase by USD 0.26.