saa thumb medium95 76TMG Digital reports that pilots reportedly get five-star accommodation and generous travel benefits‚ at a cost of R697m a year for ailing South African Airways.  

The Citizen reported on Friday that pilots are accommodated in hotels of the highest global standards and entitled to free family travel on a preferential basis in business class.  Pilots are also entitled to very generous sick leave.  In September last year‚ SAA board chairwoman Dudu Myeni wrote in an internal staff memo that salaries paid to SAA pilots were "exorbitant and unaffordable".  She noted that pilots constituted 12% of the carrier’s total workforce, but accounted for more than 40% of the airline’s salary bill.  Yet, fat salaries for pilots are not unique to SA.  Chinese airlines need to hire almost 100 pilots a week for the next 20 years to meet rocketing travel demand.  Pilots from emerging markets‚ including Brazil and Russia‚ could quadruple their salaries in China.

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