A PILOT who lost his job during lockdown earns £10,000 a year more now as a lorry driver in the HGV crisis.
Flyer turned trucker Aaron Leventhal, 37, says pay is rocketing for experienced truckers because of the shortage.
Ex-soldier Aaron gained his HGV licences driving trucks in the Army before landing his dream job as a jet pilot.
And when budget airline Flybe collapsed, he decided to go back on the road as a freelance driver delivering food and fuel to supermarkets.
The first officer’s pilot salary at Flybe was £30,000 a year but freelance truckers are earning £40,000 filling the gaps in the national shortage.
The dad-of-one said: “Companies are desperate to get drivers and will pay more.”
Aaron kept his HGV licences up to date during pilot training.
He reckons pay rates for agency drivers in his licence category have shot up from £9 an hour a year ago to up to £30 — plus £5 an hour to cover for overnight hotel rooms.
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Aaron, who lives with his long-term partner Abigail Hall and their eight-year-old daughter Belle in Swansea, served with the Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers.
He was then at Flybe for 18 months before it went bust last year and said: “I was devastated at first. This had been a dream of mine for years.
“But I’m now helping keep food supplies up in supermarkets. I feel a sense of pride that I’m helping the nation.”
We launched our Keep On Trucking campaign to help with recruitment, including free driver ads on Sun Jobs online.
The Road Haulage Association estimates the shortage is more than 100,000, from a pre-pandemic total of 600,000.
See driver ads at jobs.thesun.co.uk
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