The Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Limited (RBHSL) through its many services has become indispensable for the nation.
So it comes as a matter of great surprise that the four Bhutanese trainee pilots there are very unhappy with the way they are being treated by the two foreign expat pilots, including the head pilot. RBHSL had hired four expat pilots and was training four Bhutanese trainee pilots.
Matters have come to such a head that three Bhutanese pilots wrote to the management saying they cannot fly with one of the expats who is very abusive and harasses them. From the letter, this abusive behavior has been going on for a while and the company was made aware of it.
The Bhutanese pilots are allegedly also not being given enough training by the two senior expat pilots, and so as as the Bhutanese pilots take longer to fly solo, the lucrative contracts of the two senior expat pilots keep getting extended.
One younger expat pilot resigned in protest over the way the two senior expat pilots were treating the Bhutanese pilots and not giving them enough airtime and training.
The expat pilots make close to USD 10,000 per month to fly the helicopters and train the Bhutanese pilots who in turn get only USD 500.
Information from very reliable sources indicate that most of the Bhutanese pilots, due to the abusive behavior and constant humiliation, plan to leave once their bond is over.
The abusive senior expat pilot not only behaved badly with the local pilots, but he also had several run ins with the airport security and even local clients like Lunaps and complaints were filed but no action was taken.
In all of this, the main question to ask is what was the RBHSL management doing all these years as our Bhutanese trainee pilots went through such abuse and degradation.
From many accounts, the management instead was backing the two senior expat pilots.
Last week, this paper talked about paying our professionals well, but this week the focus is on managing them well.
The issue this time is not pay, but how professionals are being managed or rather mismanaged. Professionals by nature are passionate and care about what they do, and so their managers must take every measure to create a safe and enabling environment.
It is sad that former expat pilots seem to be more concerned about the condition of our Bhutanese pilots than the erstwhile RBHSL management.
Management is nothing more than motivating other people.