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Even the US is now feeling the effects of the pilot shortage

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Even the US is now feeling the effects of the pilot shortage

Old 9th Mar 2013, 03:49
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: May 2003
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Even the US is now feeling the effects of the pilot shortage

American Eagle, and Republic, both VERY large "regional" airlines, have been offering $5K signing bonuses, due to a lack of new hire pilots. Republic has been rumoured to be considering a $20K signing bonus, and AAEagle just upped their signing bonus to $10K.

The US has a new rule, effective 1 AUG 2013, that will require a PIC ATP (full ATP, NOT like a frozen ATPL) to be a Captain OR a First Officer of a -121 airliner (UAL/DAL/CAL and all the regionals, such as Eagle, SkyWest and Republic are -121). So, as of 1 Aug, unless you have an ATP, which for now means 1500 hours total time, you are done flying for any -121 carrier.
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Old 9th Mar 2013, 05:28
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Pilot shortage?

Not exactly...

This is just my personal opinion, but I don't think "pilot shortage" is an entirely accurate way to describe the situation which exists. There is no shortage of pilots with the qualifications to do the job. Not now, not within the last ten years and not in the near future. However I do believe there is a distinct possibility that regional airlines might still find it a small challenge to fill those vacant seats with pilots meeting the minimum qualifications due to the pay and conditions offered. The distinction between "pilot shortage" and "shortage of pilots willing to accept what's offered" seems subtle I know, but it's an important one nevertheless.

Small signing bonuses may entice a number of of pilots to apply who otherwise would not have, but even that might not be enough. In my perhaps not so humble opinion, airlines are simply going to have to "pony up" with regard to the pay and conditions if they want to fill those seats with qualified pilots. Time will tell whether incurring this additional expense will be deemed justifiable within their business model. Given recent trends in the airline business, I have my doubts...

So the new qualification rules may cause a slight and temporary bump in demand for new regional pilots. Capacity may even be decreased in the most extreme case. But this is a result of market demand versus market price, not by an actual supply shortfall in qualified pilots. The qualified pilots are out there, but unable or unwilling to accept what's on offer. The signing bonuses are an indication of the airlines recognition of these facts, but do little to address the real issue of pay and conditions in the regional airline business. They are a temporary measure intended to address a temporary shortage of qualified pilots in the applicant pool.

Now if we would only see a return of demand for pilots in the medium bizjet sector!

westhawk
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Old 9th Mar 2013, 05:30
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Aug 1st is the last day you can fly 121 with a commercial, the new law goes into effect Aug 2nd.
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Old 9th Mar 2013, 21:53
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Join Date: Dec 1998
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Well written, Westhawk!

Why would I want to work as a regional FO, paid ~$20,000 pa and probably have to commute, when I get paid $250/day FO on a Beechjet, $300-350/day CA on couple of cabin piston twins and a Kingair 200, and was just offered $400/day as backup pilot for Seneca? And that's all at my local airport ~10mins from home.

Last edited by Tinstaafl; 9th Mar 2013 at 22:02.
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Old 9th Mar 2013, 23:17
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Maybe you get those
Daily rates because there are not
Pilots
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Old 11th Mar 2013, 04:03
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Join Date: Dec 1998
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I can chuck a rock at at any tree near the airport & knock a dozen pilots out...

Trouble is finding *experienced* pilots who'll work for cheap wages. I know of more than one doing jobs other than flying because the pay is better.
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Old 11th Mar 2013, 13:03
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I was chatting with a republic pilot last month who said only 4 people showed up for class that week. They are having trouble filling classes and its getting harder as the majors start hiring too. Us Airways and United are both running classes now. AA is recalling furloughed pilots. In addition the new rest rules take effect in January and will require more pilots to cover the same flying for each carrier.
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Old 17th Mar 2013, 00:32
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Eagle and Republic are not good regionals to go to and they're having problems filling classes, long upgrade time at Eagle and Republic is trying to get a contract finalized, moral is low there. I've been at my regional for a year and some change and I'm going to be upgrading in the next few months so I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.
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