Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Airlines Facing a Shortage of Pilots
Meanwhile, thousands of senior pilots at major airlines will start hitting the mandatory retirement age of 65 soon. Another federal safety rule, which will give pilots more rest time is scheduled to take effect in early 2014. This change is expected to force passenger airlines to increase their pilot ranks by at least 5%. Adding to the problem is a small but steady stream of U.S. pilots moving to overseas carriers, many of which already face an acute shortage of aviators and pay handsomely to well-trained U.S. captains. Airlines for America, a trade group of the largest carriers that collectively employ 50,800 pilots now, cites a study by the University of North Dakota's aviation department that indicates major airlines will need to hire 60,000 pilots by 2025 to replace departures and cover expansion. All U.S. airlines, including cargo, charter and regional carriers together employ nearly 96,000 pilots, and will need to find more than 65,000 over the next eight years.
The biggest impact for passengers is expected to be with the smaller, regional carriers. They have traditionally been a training ground feeding pilots to the bigger airlines, but this trend is expected to change.