GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - The long running pay dispute by airline pilots has been resolved and a trial period by Swiss airline Tobler Air has proved successful for the pilots but it is not proving a hit with the passengers.
In a four week period all sixteen pilots and co-pilots were paid by the mile. A GPS enabled taxi meter was installed in the cockpits of the airlines fleet of Airbus 320's.
A set off rate of 20 Swiss Francs was agreed and a further 25 cents per mile was added. This rose to 33 cents after 11:30 PM and on public holidays. The troubles soon manifested themselves on just the second flight from Bern to Stockholm. Pilot Jean Matreau flew to Cairo before being turned back by Egyptian Air Traffic Control and was rerouted to Istanbul before diverting to Moscow. After refuelling he circled Vladivostok for two hours before moving on to Frankfurt.
He finally landed in Stockholm 18 hours after taking off but had covered over 11 000 miles raking in a healthy 2750 francs.
"Not bad for a days work" said a beaming Jean. "This scheme is wicked - bring it on! I managed to stretch out an 800 mile trip to Dublin to 9760 with a tour of the Urals and the Red Sea region. Skanked quite a bit of lolly on that one. Just ordered me a new Lexus - Brill !"
Other pilots have similar stories but perhaps the best one is Captain Louis Froom who took off from Geneva three days ago on an internal flight but is at present near Fiji in the South Pacific having been refuelled three times mid-air by the USAF using KC130's
He plans to touch down in Bern next Tuesday and then retiring on his wages.
The scheme is being cautiously welcomed by airlines around the world but they are coming out with the inevitable comments that fares will have to rise. Analysts say that the impact should be minimal but a pilot shortage will prevail the richer they get.
Union leader and architect of the deal Bertrand Dupont was unavailable for comment as his flight from Budapest was still delayed in Singapore after the pilot stopped off for some duty free.