US Airlines Desperate For Pilots, Take Drastic Measures

The shortage of U.S. pilots has actually apparently gotten so bad that providers and airline companies have actually begun relaxing experience requirements and cutting the number of training hours required in order to fly their aircraft, Business Insider reported.

Previously this year, Delta signed up with other significant airline companies in revealing an end to its enduring requirement that pilots have four-year degrees in hopes of bringing in more prospects to the market. The accomplishment is now just a “preferred” requirement.

“While we feel as strongly as ever about the importance of education, there are highly qualified candidates — people who we would want to welcome to our Delta family — who have gained more than the equivalent of a college education through years of life and leadership experience,” Delta wrote in its Jan. 6 announcement. “Making the four-year degree requirement preferred removes unintentional barriers to our Delta flight decks.”

Republic Airways, the country’s second-largest local provider, which operates on behalf of a number of significant airline companies– such as Delta, American, and United– took an even bolder technique by looking to cut the amount of mandated training hours for pilots in half.

In a petition filed with the Federal Aviation Administration in April, Republic asked permission to bring the number of mandatory flight hours down to 750 from 1,500 hours. Even now, the carrier has exemptions in place for prospects with degrees that cut the needed hours to 1,000.

Other airlines have adopted less drastic, though still strange, solutions. CNBC reported recently that airline companies such as Frontier are employing pilots from Australia, and American has actually even started offering bus tickets for much shorter routes.

The series of initiatives come as the U.S. flight market deals with among its biggest pilot scarcities in current memory, with U.S. airline companies supposedly wanting to employ 12,000 pilots integrated this year alone. The lack has actually triggered airline companies to regularly ground airplanes and cancel flights and has actually sent the prices of flights escalating.

Throughout the COVID-19 panic, pilot training and hiring slowed in addition to flight traffic, and airline companies distributed early retirement bundles and cut personnel in effort to conserve cash. The effects of the budget-saving practices are being realized now. With travel needs going back to pre-pandemic levels, the palpable scarcity of certified pilots stays.

One airline executive thinks the shortage will take years to correct, even with extreme requirement reductions.

“The pilot shortage for the industry is real, and most airlines are simply not going to be able to realize their capacity plans because there simply aren’t enough pilots, at least not for the next five-plus years,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said on a quarterly earnings call in April, according to CNBC.

One senator is thinking about a different tactic as an option to cutting training hours and dropping requirements for pilots, which could be deemed harmful by the public.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) just recently drafted legislation that might raise the obligatory retirement age for pilots to a minimum of 67 from 65, according to Bloomberg.

Henry Harteveldt, a travel expert and the president of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider, “Optically, cutting the number of required flying hours may look like a riskier approach than allowing a healthy pilot to continue flying a few more years.”

H/T The Blaze

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