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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

JAL extends early retirement program to pilots

Nikkei reports that Japan Airlines has extended its early retirement program to its pilots. Around 2,300 pilots are now qualified for early retirement.

There are 1,500 captains and 800 first officers who are 35 or older qualify for the program. The participants will receive an increased one-time lump-sum payment and can continue to enjoy family ticket benefits. The last time JAL offer such program to pilots was in the second half of 1990s but very few pilots chose to participate back then. Not sure how many will participate this time.

I hope JAL will put some kind of a cap on the number of captains that will retire under this new program. The last thing I want to see is pilots getting their promotions early because JAL doesn't have enough captains or first officers. One easily target group will be the 744 and MD-90 cockpit crew. Since JAL is phasing the fleet out anyways, they might as well target the crew operating these aircraft. This will save some training costs to re-certify them for another aircraft. But on the other hand, the 744 captains are extremely knowledgeable, it will be a shame if JAL lose these great talents. Maybe JAL can hire some to be their instructors or whatever. The key is they need to find a balance between cost cut and retaining talents. It takes a long time for a pilot to acquire his/her skills and these skills are crucial to safety!

Source: Nikkei

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JAL considers moving headquarter to Haneda

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