Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ground control to Major Tom

Every air traffic controller will agree: the pressure is intense and each shift is underlined by the fear that one mistake could be fatal.
In Spain, however, there’s another worry on their radar. A storm has followed the discovery that some controllers are earning more than £800,000 a year.
The revelation that Spain’s air traffic controllers can earn ten times more than their Prime Minister — and more than 50 times the average salary — has provoked outrage, while presumably raising more than a few (concentrated) eyebrows among lesser-paid counterparts across Europe.
The soaring salary scale was revealed as the country’s socialist Government announced plans to cut the cost of its loss-making airports, run by the state operator Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea (AENA).
Of 2,300 controllers, ten were paid between €810,000 (£725,000) and €900,000 last year. A further 226 were paid between €450,000 and €540,000 and 701 were paid between €270,000 and €360,000.
The average basic salary is €200,000 but most double or triple this amount by working overtime.

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