In Switzerland, airline pilots will soon be in command …. of trains

® Hans Bidstrup Johnsen

Swiss pilots, grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, will very soon be at the commands of a train instead of piloting their usual aircraft, says French newspaper Le Point. SWISS and subsidiary Edelweiss are studying the feasibility of this particular retraining.

Every single day, railway companies Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses (SBB/CFF) and Rhetische Bahn (RhB) have to leave trains at the depot due to lack of staff. On a daily basis, around thirty drivers are missing.

Once the 14 to 16-month training has been completed, the monthly remuneration for a driver amounts to approximately 6,000 Swiss francs (5,550 euros), including fixed costs.

Surprisingly, Swiss union Aeropers, representing nearly 1,300 pilots encourages this retraining. “This might come as a surprise,” Aeropers spokesman Roman Kälin admits. “But many things are very similar, such as the fascination with technology, the transport of people and goods from point A to point B, safety or a sense of responsibility. In our eyes, this is a win-win situation. We ask our employers to think outside the box,” he explains to the Swiss daily Le Nouvelliste.

Despite the current crisis, optimism is still high. Thus, the Canadian CAE, one of the largest training companies in the world, assesses the needs of civil aviation at 27,000 new pilots by the end of 2021 and up to 264,000 by the end of the decade.

Given the length of the training, young people entering flight schools today should find work when they graduate.


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