VILNIUS - Lithuania's flagship carrier Lietuvos Avialinijos (Lithuanian Airlines) may lose a significant number of highly skilled pilots and flight attendants, the Verslo Zinios business daily reported on Oct. 22.
A total of 11 pilots, discontent with their wages - which are the lowest in the Baltic states - quit during the July-to-September period. Meanwhile, airline executives have agreed to raise pilot wages gradually, with consideration to the employee's position and record of work with the company.
Disgruntled pilots, however, were not appeased by such efforts, lambasting the management for failure "to establish a motivation system and win the employees over." They further pointed out that their wages would reach the level of Lithuanian and other Baltic competitors in only a year-and-a-half.
The majority of former LAL pilots have found employment at Latvia's flagship carrier airBaltic, which launched several flights from Vilnius this summer. Other airline employees were hired by Polish and Czech carriers.
LAL currently employs 72 pilots, and operates six planes in regular and charter flights. The company says it only needs 60 pilots considering its current flight traffic.
In September 2003, the workload per pilot averaged some 50 hours of flights per month. During the twelve-month period, however, the workload surged twofold to 100 hours - the maximum permissible flight level.