An angry backlash against the government’s decision to abolish the private jet pilot program has led to the resignation of one of the nation’s most senior housekeepers.
Key points:The Government says it will stop hiring new pilots as it looks to cut costs in the airIn a bid to cut its $11.7 billion budget deficit, it says it is putting an end to the pilot programThe move has angered the public, with some calling it “tasteless”The government says the move will save taxpayers $7 million a year and reduce costs by up to $11 million a day.
The pilot program was abolished in October 2015, amid calls from politicians and aviation industry professionals for more staff and a greater emphasis on efficiency and safety.
The Federal Government says the elimination of the pilot will save $7.7 million on average per day, which it said will save the economy $11,000 a day and cut the national debt by $1.2 billion.
But critics say the move has been driven by political considerations and is an attempt to save money while slashing the number of people flying in the skies.
“This is just the latest attempt by the Government to distract attention from the budget’s massive deficits,” Victorian Liberal MP and former airline pilot Bill Shorten said.
“They can’t afford to cut $11 billion out of the budget just to save one person flying on their private jet.”
The Government is also looking to close a $15 million gap in the pilot training pipeline, while cutting staff from an estimated 5,000 to 1,600.
“The current workforce in the industry has been reduced to the point where they are no longer required to fly,” a spokesperson for the Federal Government said.
“The Government has announced that it is going to be eliminating this program to achieve savings.”
These savings will be achieved by increasing the number and quality of aircrew trained in the Federal Air Traffic Control system and reducing the number, number and cost of people who fly on commercial jets.
“Mr Shorten, who represents the Melbourne seat of Broome, said it was time for the Government’s top housekeeper to leave the job.”
I think it’s tasteless, it’s an absolute waste of time and I think it would be an absolute shame,” he said.
In a statement the Federal Aviation Minister, Andrew Prisk, said the decision was taken “to ensure the Government has the necessary workforce and skills to manage the aircraft fleet and achieve the necessary savings in the long-term”.”
We recognise the importance of maintaining airworthiness and safety, and are committed to improving this capability,” he added.”
A decision has been made to reduce the number from 5,500 to 1 (people) at the request of the Government and for the purpose of increasing the training capacity in the aircraft industry.
“The Federal Aviation Authority says the decision will save up to an additional $7,500 a day in fuel costs.
But the Federal Minister for Public Transport, Shane Rattenbury, has hit back, saying the move was designed to make the Government look good.”
It’s a political decision, not a financial decision,” he told the ABC.”
That’s why you can’t make a political or economic decision.
It’s a strategic decision.
“Mr Rattenberry has previously claimed the pilot pilot program saved $6.6 million a week in the last financial year.”
What’s happened to us is we have lost the ability to manage our fleet in a way that makes sense,” he recently told the Seven Network.
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