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US Legacy Age 65 Retirements

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US Legacy Age 65 Retirements

Old 10th Jan 2016, 22:33
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US Legacy Age 65 Retirements

Haven't seen any recent discussion of the subject and thought someone might be interested so I'll throw this out:

This is a unique time in US legacy airline history re pilot demand/supply. The legacies are losing VERY large percentages of their pilots to age 65 over the next 15+/- years. This continues beyond 2028 with annually decreasing numbers but the curve seems to peak about the end of 2028 +/-

Here's the legacy American Airlines data(not including merged USAir data which would only make it more dramatic I think).

And, by the way, Delta is losing 68% of the list between 2013 and 2028 due only to age 65. And almost NOBODY leaves a US legacy voluntarily but there will be medical dropouts to alter the year-by-year numbers by a smallish amount. I haven't seen any data from the merged UAL/CAL list but would like to see it:

Projected Retirements for 2016 - 2036 (Legacy AA only)
(Projections based on active pilots turning 65 in the given year.)
Roster Data Updated on: 1/5/2016

Year Total
01/10/2016 - 12/31/2016 114
01/01/2017 - 12/31/2017 161
01/01/2018 - 12/31/2018 261
01/01/2019 - 12/31/2019 375
01/01/2020 - 12/31/2020 499
01/01/2021 - 12/31/2021 572
01/01/2022 - 12/31/2022 641
01/01/2023 - 12/31/2023 691
01/01/2024 - 12/31/2024 718
01/01/2025 - 12/31/2025 732
01/01/2026 - 12/31/2026 716
01/01/2027 - 12/31/2027 617
01/01/2028 - 12/31/2028 546
01/01/2029 - 12/31/2029 506
01/01/2030 - 12/31/2030 456
01/01/2031 - 12/31/2031 472
01/01/2032 - 12/31/2032 431
01/01/2033 - 12/31/2033 403
01/01/2034 - 12/31/2034 301
01/01/2035 - 12/31/2035 223
01/01/2036 - 12/31/2036 154

Last edited by bafanguy; 11th Jan 2016 at 11:13. Reason: add more stuff
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Old 18th Jan 2016, 17:19
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From a reliable source:

UAL age-65 annual pilot retirement attrition as of Jan/2016. Total list is now 11,971 pilots:

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Old 21st Jan 2016, 09:59
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Any word on how these airlines plan to hire in the future - I.e will guys working overseas on heavies be considered or will they be able to fill the slots with regional guys with PIC time? Seems a lot of places to fill and a lot of training capacity if they do it the traditional way.

Even the legacies in Europe are starting to hire straight onto longhaul.
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Old 21st Jan 2016, 14:22
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They will hire whoever they want to hire, to include regional pilots, ACMI pilots, military, guys coming back from overseas contracts, corporate and fractional pilots... And believe it or not guys are getting hired from my company with 0 turbine PIC.
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Old 21st Jan 2016, 14:27
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From another reliable source:

Delta age 65 retirements

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Old 21st Jan 2016, 14:51
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Now there is talk about aga 67, not sure how serious it is.
I am out, medical retirement from a US Legacy at age 58.
It was fun flying the world for 37 years.
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Old 21st Jan 2016, 16:06
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Yep, I hear passing references to age 67 also...nothing concrete. No way to tell if that'd do any good or even if "good" is needed.

How many people stay to 65 anyway ? I don't know. How many are physically able to ? Dunno. How many could get to 67 ? Nobody knows..it may be no fix at all.

The DL situation is interesting because, IIUC, the NW guys have their defined benefit plan intact and are therefore under no pressure to stay to the end to make up for pension losses. Must be nice.

I'd guess the top end of the Part 121 world isn't where the squeeze will be felt since that's where so many people aim career wise. Even if they have to accept people with less overall experience, I'd guess they'll fill the seats...and you know that's what they'll do if it comes to that. Probably not the end of the world...just a change. People will say the sky is falling, though. :-)

The legacies have their pick these days. The average TTL time of DL new hires since they started hiring in earnest in 2014 is 7,000+/- hrs with solid PIC time. Not sure how UAL, AA, SWA, FedEx, UPS, JB, etc. are doing in that department. I'm guessin' the same.

Interesting times. If a young person can hit this wave on the upslope, pre-2029ish, it's gonna be a fantastic career.

Not sure how the Part 91K, 135, straight 91, low-end 121 gigs will make out. They may be the ones to feel the heat first.

I think I put a link to a study by a Rand Corp guy on here somewhere but can't remember where. It's the best one I've seen and I've tried to read them all.

Fun stuff, no ?
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Old 21st Jan 2016, 16:21
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Yep, those pretty much jive with mine. I got mine right off the DL flt ops website just prior to Jan/2014 so they offered a Big Picture snapshot of what the whole issue would be through 2047 as they kicked off the hiring spree.

Kinda eye opening...my quoted figure of 68% age-out of the current list by end of 2028 was based on that data.

The numbers will change some over time as not everyone at DL is staying to 65. But, I don't know how many are pulling the plug pre-65.

Last edited by bafanguy; 21st Jan 2016 at 16:31.
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Old 21st Jan 2016, 17:53
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But for the termination of the pre-merger DAL pilots' Defined Benefit Pension Plan, there would be substantially more retirements pre age 65.

It's unfortunate that the PBGC forfeited their right to seek refunding of the Plan once Delta exited Chapter 11 and became profitable again.

Currently, Delta is awash is cash as evidenced by stock buybacks and senior management's compensation packages.

Delta's CEO Just Cashed a $17.6 Million Paycheck for the Last Year ? Skift
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Old 27th Jan 2016, 13:30
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I guess FedEx is a rightly a "legacy" freight airline.

Judging by the guy who posted this data, who I'm pretty sure is a FedEx pilot who also runs a very well respected pilot interview prep company (Emerald Coast Consulting ?), I say this is likely good data as of mid 2015. They aren't losing as many compared to the Big Three pax legacies so I'd expect the competition to be stiff.

They have ~ 4,300 pilots.

Here are the FedEx (potential) retirement numbers…pilots turning 65. Some may leave early for any number of reasons:
2014: 69
2015: 110
2016: 114
2017: 163
2018: 177
2019: 144
2020: 178
2021: 206
2022: 211
2023: 222
2024: 229
2025: 218
2026: 241
2027: 209
2028: 203
2029: 186
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Old 28th Jan 2016, 20:59
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Before the latest hiring wave AA had 77% of it's pilot corps retiring by the end of 2029 (based on everyone staying to Age 65).

Adding LUS retirements increases the LAA totals for the combined airline -

Combined will be just shy of 800 in 2019, 800+ in 2020, 900 ish in 2021-2022, just shy of 1000 in 2023, 900+ in 2024-2025, and then dropping to a more manageable (!) 700 in 2026, 600 in 2027, and then stabilizing at an average of over 400 for the next 5 years.

About 1,300 in the next three years. Then about 6,200 retirements in 7 years. Then only 2,700 in the next 5 yrs.
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Old 28th Jan 2016, 21:17
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Yep, this is gonna get interestin' pretty soon.

Since you appear to have some inside dope on AA, what's your take on the number of AA people who've been bypassing recall and are facing a time when return or cutting bait will be required ?

I've heard that ~900 are still bypassing with the end of that option coming this year. The scuttlebutt is that only 10% of those will elect to return. Any truth to that from your sources ?


Speaking of USAir retirements, I have these numbers from a couple of years ago…Audries Aircraft Analysis, IIRC. They were from an unattributed source but may be in the ballpark ? ( I prefer dated/attributed data from the original source) Something to kick around, I guess. Audries has gone to a pay-to-play format so I can't see what's there now if it even is after the merger. Add them to AA legacy and it gets impressive:

Last edited by bafanguy; 28th Jan 2016 at 21:56. Reason: Add USAir Stuff
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Old 29th Jan 2016, 14:40
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Audries' data was accurate. But only for the second that the 'enter' button was pushed. So the LUS data is too high based on a late 2014 list.

How many of the remaining 903 guys come back? The company's estimating 100-150 but no one knows. It might be 20, it might be 700. So 10% is in the ballpark for the guesses that are out there.

For guys not hired, or currently not that competitive to get hired, the returning guys are on average 10-12 years older than OTS hires. So if you can't get hired this year you're hoping as many returnees as possible come back vs. hiring younger OTS guys ahead of you.

May 7th is the last day the have to announce their intentions to accept recall or quit. We'll know then. And how many say they'll come back but actually don't show for their training class? Zero? One? Ten? Fifty? So the number on May 7th but be slightly different than the actual number of guys that show for training.

Last edited by misd-agin; 29th Jan 2016 at 14:41. Reason: added - So the LUS...
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Old 29th Jan 2016, 17:20
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Thanks for the info.
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 19:37
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Just for contrast, the middle of last year, Audries listed this data for UPS retirements 2015/2020. Not very many at all:


UPS | Audries Aircraft Analysis
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Old 1st Feb 2016, 06:10
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I think you guys are missing something here:

While all those figures quoted here are true and impressive for future pilot jobs... and having been in this biz for about 30 years now.... between now and 2028 or much sooner, there WILL be a recession and airlines will look to reduce the numbers. This will stop the hiring plain and simple. So the demand side will not be there nearly the way it is now for a few years more than likely.

Also figure in that oil while at $30/barrel these days is going to rise which at some point even with hedging, will catch up to the airlines.

Not to rain on the parade but the hiring will at some point reduce drastically or more than likely stop... but only for a while. These are the highest numbers of retirements ever seen in the airline industry before.

Old 1st Feb 2016, 09:36
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You're undoubtedly right. An economic downturn, with some attendant effect on pilot employment, is inevitable...bet the rent money on it. :-)

I can only guess what the degree of effect will be under the current retirement picture. I have absolutely no idea but WONDER if such extraordinarily large numbers might at least not ameliorate some of the negative economic effects on the junior people. Perhaps an airline bleeding pilots out the top end might not lay off as many in a downturn...or even need to continue hiring even if just a little ? Maybe a de facto form of furlough protection if nothing else ?

Beats me...

Last edited by bafanguy; 1st Feb 2016 at 10:48.
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Old 2nd Feb 2016, 11:33
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Waiting for one of them to call 🙏 . They take their time !!!
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Old 4th Feb 2016, 21:49
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You have internal recommendations to get your app pulled from the stack of 8K qualified others and reviewed, right ? That seems to be almost a requirement with the US legacies.

Putting in an app without them and hoping to get reviewed is akin to playing Pin The Tail On The Donkey.

Best of luck in the hunt.
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Old 4th Feb 2016, 22:14
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Internal recommendations are not required at AA to get selected.

Others require them.
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