Philippines losing air traffic controllers due to pay disparity –

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is suffering from a brain drain of aviation experts, particularly air traffic officers, as the salary offered here can no longer compete with that given in the Middle East.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines yesterday asked the government to raise the pay of air traffic controllers in CAAP facilities to encourage them to stay in the country.
CAAP director general Manuel Antonio Tamayo said the agency is losing aviation talents mostly to the Middle East, where the starting salary is up to six times higher than what they get here.
“That is the problem: we are not hiring our air traffic controllers, so our air traffic controllers are being pirated abroad. We are having issues because of pay and so on. In terms of qualification, we can train Filipinos. We can make them excellent in this field, but the problem is the pay that we offer them,” Tamayo said.
Tamayo requested the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) to facilitate the adjustment in the salary grades of air traffic personnel.
He warned that without reform, the Philippines would lose the people who can prevent the airspace shutdown from repeating in the future.
CAAP assistant director general Marlene Singson said air traffic controllers undergo at least 1.5 years of training to complete their service course.
Afterward, they are deployed to an air traffic management facility anywhere in the country to do their apprenticeship and obtain a rating.
Once finished, however, most of them start to receive job offers from the Middle East like Dubai, where the salary can peak to as much as P850,000 a month.
Singson said the starting pay in Dubai for air traffic controller is around P380,000 monthly plus a free housing unit. For comparison, a starting air traffic management officer here gets classified under Salary Grade 20 for P51,155 a month.
In response, GCG commissioner Gideon Mortel said the GCG will look into the pay issue of air traffic officers working for CAAP facilities.
He vowed that the agency tasked to oversee state-run firms like CAAP is studying every option to improve air traffic management in the Philippines.
If it means raising the salary of workers, Mortel said that can be reviewed along with the plan to reorganize CAAP at least within the year.
The GCG yesterday inspected CAAP’s facilities and was briefed by aviation officials, as it looks for answers on how CAAP lost communication and power on Jan. 1 that led to the shutdown of Manila’s airspace and cancellation of hundreds of flights. is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!


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