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Airlines Facing Pilot Shortage

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By Author: Steve Robinson
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Prices of cheap airplane tickets and cheap vacation packages may go up as a result of increasing pilot retirements, new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements, and a possible increase in demand for air travel.

If not enough pilots are available to fly, demand for air travel will exceed supply most likely leading to higher ticket prices.

U.S. airlines are expected to start to experience a pilot crunch this year as thousands of pilots start to retire (federal mandated pilot retirement age is 65) and new FAA requirements go into force in August which mandate extra pilot training as well as more rest for pilots.

If the economy continues to improve, experts anticipate more Americans will want to travel. Compounding the problem is that new FAA rules set to kick in the year require co-pilots to have as many flight hours as captains before they can work in a cockpit.

If the anticipated pilot shortage occurs, large airlines are still expected to be able to hire the pilots they need. This is because better paying jobs are with the major airlines.

However regional airlines, which operate half of the country’s scheduled flights and frequently provide the only air service to smaller cities, will be left short of pilots.

Today there are about 90,000 commercial pilots working for U.S. airlines. An estimated 8,000 new pilots will need to be hired annually going forward to replace those who will retire, to take into account new rules for pilot rest, and to keep up with the airline industry’s anticipated growth.

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