There is a commercial pilot shortage plaguing airlines across the nation, and as we look forward to 2015 it appears that this trend is only going to intensify. The current state of the aviation industry in the United States is causing headaches for airlines struggling to meet the demand for flights while ensuring their pilots are given the adequate rest they need. This shortage is also creating an ideal environment for new pilots completing flight school and embarking on a career in commercial aviation. With increasing demand for commercial pilots and continued growth in this job market is expected over the next 20 years! The current pilot shortage is creating new opportunities for aviators to enter this highly regarded profession.
Understanding the Pilot Shortage
Many factors have contributed to the current commercial pilot shortage, which is expected to escalate in 2015 and beyond. The Federal Aviation Administration’s new rules for First Officer Qualifications include an increase in the number of hours that first officers are required to complete – to 1,500 hours – effectively reducing the number of qualified pilots in the job pool. Another new rule added to the Federal Aviation Regulations, FAR Part 117, has also increased the number of pilots that air carriers are required to employ to ensure adequate rest hours between shifts. This new rule alone has created an estimated increase in over 8% of total airline pilots the airlines must hire to comply.
With older pilots retiring year after year, the demand for new pilots with adequate training and sufficient flight hours is that much greater. The demand is particularly intense for regional airlines in the U.S., which currently employ fewer than 18,000 pilots in total. At the same time, our nation’s major airlines are expected to require more than 18,000 new pilots due to retirements over the next decade, and Boeing even predicts that half a million new pilots will be needed over the next two decades. Many of the pilots currently working for regional airlines are expected to leave their current positions to help fill this void within major airlines, essentially shifting the shortage from one area of the industry to another. Airports across the nation are losing service, and many more are at risk. United Airlines has even ended its Cleveland service due to its shortage of qualified pilots available to fly.
What This Means for Budding Pilots
The situation appears dire for regional airlines and their passengers around the United States, but for those considering a career in aviation this shortage is creating abundant opportunities to join the work force. Pay rates are on the rise and many airlines offer signing bonuses to entice new pilots and to fill the increasing number of vacancies in the industry. Coast Flight even offers student pilots the opportunity to interview with SkyWest and secure a Conditional Offer of Employment, so those who have what it takes will already have a job waiting for them upon completion of their required training and flight hours.
There couldn’t be a better time to become an airline pilot. Contact Coast Flight today to learn more about what it takes.
See how airlines are reacting to this news in 2015 by reading about Endeavor’s Pilot Retention Program!