Airlines Plan to Reduce Training Requirements Because of Pilot Shortage
Major airlines are planning of reducing required training for pilots, among other measures, as they still face a shortage that has impacted operations.
Regional airline Republic Airways was the first to ask the Federal Aviation Administration to cut the amount of training time for pilots in half. Now two major airlines, Delta and American, also plan similar moves.
They are considering changing long-standing requirements in order to hire more pilots sooner. Those changes include dropping degree requirements, reducing the mandatory number of flight hours needed to be hired, and increasing the pilot retirement age.
In January, Delta announced it would end the requirement for pilots to have a four-year degree, as reported by Business Insider. Republic, which services Delta, American and United, asked the FAA to cut training hours from 1,500 to 750.
Regional airlines are impacted more by the pilot shortage as major airlines usually take their employees with better offers and benefits.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is set to propose a bill that would increase mandatory pilot retirement age to 67 years old instead of the current 65, according to Airline Weekly. This proposal could have a more immediate effect on the pilot shortage as it gives airlines an extra two years to hold on to current employees
“The FAA must sit down with the airline industry to discuss these options,” Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider. “The airline industry literally doesn’t have time for the FAA to drag out these discussions. We have seen route networks and airline schedules cut due to the lack of pilots, inconveniencing passengers and communities, and contributing to higher airfares.”