- US airlines are once again struggling with pilot shortages as travel demand surges.
- Regional airline Republic Airways is considering reducing its training requirements from 1,500 hours to 750 hours.
- Senator Lindsay Graham could propose a bill that would raise the mandatory pilot retirement age from 65 to 67.
As the airline industry continues to struggle with a shortage of pilots, airlines are struggling to meet flight schedules, and some airlines are working to reduce the training hours needed to acquire more pilots.
On May 13, Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minikucci apologized in an apology. youtube video For constant flight cancellations that plague airlines. “When we had the plan, we had 63 fewer pilots than we had planned,” Minicucci said, blaming the pilot shortage, creating “a ripple effect.”
“At the time this error was discovered, it was impossible for the pilot and flight attendants to offer schedules for April and May and adjust the schedule sufficiently to avoid cancellations,” he said.
The Seattle-based airline is just one example of an airline struggling to find enough pilots to handle the hectic surge in travel after the pandemic. According to BloombergDelta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines have all cut regional flights in recent months due to shortages, and United has canceled 100 regional flights over the issue.
“The pilot shortage in the industry is a reality and most airlines will not be able to realize their capacity plans because there are not enough pilots,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. In the fourth quarter earnings report per CNBC.
Due to the pilot shortage, airlines are considering changing long-term requirements to allow more pilots to fly faster, such as ignoring degree requirements, reducing the number of required flight hours required for employment, and raising the pilot retirement age.
For example, Delta announced in January that it would repeal the four-year degree requirement for pilots, saying that there are qualified candidates who “have earned more than the equivalent of a college education through many years of life and leadership experience.”
Meanwhile, Republic Airways, a regional airline operating on behalf of Delta, American and United, is working to reduce pilot training requirements. Airline in April I asked the Federal Aviation Administration. Upon reaching 750 flight hours rather than the 1,500 currently required for most pilots, the training academy is licensed to hire pilots.
A time waiver is already in place for trainees with two- or four-year degrees, reducing the time required to 1,250 and 1,000 hours respectively. According to Points Guy.
Regional airlines are particularly affected by the shortage as major airlines acquire pilots. Messangong CEO Jonathan Onstein told CNBC It takes 120 days to replace a pilot who was notified two weeks ago to work for a larger airline, and the airline “has about 200 pilots available”.
In addition to reducing training and education requirements, Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) could propose a bill that would increase the mandatory pilot retirement age from 65 to 67. Reporting Airline Weekly on Friday. The move would be an attempt to address a shortage that would allow pilots to stay with the company longer.
Travel analyst Henry Harteveldt, president of the Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider, “Reducing the optically required flight time may seem like a more risky approach than allowing healthy pilots to continue flying for several more years.” .
“But the important thing is for the FAA to immediately discuss these issues with the aviation industry,” he said. “The airline industry literally doesn’t have time for the FAA to turn this discussion off. We’ve seen route networks and airline schedules shorten due to pilot shortages, passenger and community discomfort, and airfare hikes.”