A question was recently raised on the Get On The Plane fear of flying support forum regarding the role of the pilot in ensuring safety in the modern world of cost cutting… Here is my reply:
It is a fact that airlines, like most other companies in this day and age, cut costs where they can and it takes a fierce commitment to safety to ensure that the bean counters don’t infringe where they shouldn’t. At the end of the day no airline is going to deliberately put lives in jeopardy, and you can always be assured that your pilots, having skin in the game, are going to do their best to arrive at their destination safely (and if they get there, so will you!).
Lack of control is an issue that comes up from time to time with people who don’t like flying, as it seems that you have no control over your fate when you fly. The way I look at it, I would rather pay a professional bus driver to drive me on the bus because he/she is an expert in their field… Versus me who knows nothing about driving a bus.
Aviation, from a pilot’s point of view is, more often than not, something of a religion. Most of us dreamed of flying planes from the first time we looked up into the sky as toddlers, and we’ve studied the art our whole lives. The air is a place of magic, and flying a plane (big or small) is the pinnacle of any day. It’s not just a job to a pilot … It is a total mindset and way of life. That’s the kind of people I want at the front of my plane, and there are plenty of them.
You raise some good points regarding the business aspects of aviation and I hear you when you say there is limited choice of airlines in some parts of the world. Having said that, your dollars are the best motivator for any airline. If you have a choice, vote with your money and choose the airline you think is doing the best job (even if it costs a little more). YOU will be contributing to the safety of aviation. YOU are exercising control over your fate when you make concious decisions like this.