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From plane to train: Pilots in Switzerland grounded by COVID are redeploying as train drivers

From plane to train: Pilots in Switzerland grounded by COVID are redeploying as train drivers
Copyright LM Otero/ Associated Press
Copyright LM Otero/ Associated Press
By Mark Armstrong with AFP, EBU
Published on
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Pilots in Switzerland are switching the cockpit for the cab as they redeploy as train drivers to keep working in the pandemic.


The coronavirus pandemic has had a disastrous effect on the air industry with thousands of planes grounded worldwide.

Many pilots have been forced out of work and are having to look at other options, like driving trains.

In Switzerland, this idea has been on the table for months.

Carlos Spruengli is one of the first pilots who will soon be deployed on the tracks.

He said: "It's like in a relationship if the other party doesn`t want anything from you, then you have to swallow your pride and carry on."

The Swiss pilots' association, Aeropers, is supporting members who wish to redeploy as there is a shortage of train drivers in Switzerland, and the professions are similar. According to the organisation, this could set a precedent.

"For us, it's natural to work with companies on this kind of project," said Aeropers spokesman Thomas Steffen. "We hope that this can inspire other countries in Europe".

Given the potential length of the pandemic and the number of planes parked up in airports, it's certain pilots in other countries will also have to consider their options.

They may have dreamt of flying, but the alternatives may be much more down to earth.

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