The United States is grounding 100 regional planes due to a shortage of pilots

  • American Airlines CEO Robert Izom said on Friday that the carrier was shutting down about 100 regional planes.
  • However, he believes the problem “can be fixed” with appropriate compensation and incentives.
  • United Airlines shut down 100 regional aircraft in December amid a shortage of pilots.

The shortage of pilots continues to affect US airlines, forcing some to park planes because there are not enough pilots to fly them.

American Airlines CEO Robert Izom told participants at the Bernstein Strategic Solutions Conference on Friday that the carrier was shutting down about 100 regional aircraft due to a lack of pilots. The news was first reported by The Dallas Morning News.

“There is currently an imbalance between supply and demand and it is indeed in the ranks of regional carriers,” he said. “We probably have a hundred planes – almost a hundred planes that aren’t, not productive at the moment, that aren’t flying.”

The parked planes are smaller 50- and 76-seat planes, he explained. However, Izom said that America has compensated for the lack of frequencies by flying larger regional aircraft, such as the Embraer 175.

Despite grounding, Isom says the company currently hires 2,000 pilots and believes that if “there are appropriate incentives and there is some kind of compensation that attracts people to the industry, then that’s something that can be fixed.”

Isom’s comments come as the airline struggles with a shortage of pilots, especially as the busy summer travel season approaches. Regional carriers have been particularly affected as their pilots move to larger airlines.

Mesa Airlines CEO Jonathan Ornstein told CNBC in May that it would take about four months to replace a pilot who had given two weeks’ notice to fly to a larger carrier, and that Mesa needed “about 200 the pilot. “

While some airlines are reducing their fleets and focusing on hiring, one carrier is trying to change training requirements to get more pilots to fly earlier.

In April, the regional carrier Republic Airways, flying on behalf of Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American, asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to hire pilots from its LIFT training academy. Currently, most pilots need 1,500 hours to be hired by an airline, but the Republic wants to halve that to 750 hours.

“The Republic does not propose repealing the 1,500-hour rule or weakening security; on the contrary, we are proposing a more intensive, mission-specific training path, similar to what is allowed for military pilots under current law, “said Brian Bedford, the republic’s chief executive, in a statement to Insider.

He emphasized the importance of safety and that the proposal was backed up by a “pathway” that would “produce more efficient pilots while reducing significant economic barriers to allow greater diversity in our cockpits”.

There are already some exceptions that allow pilots to be hired with less training time. In particular, those with two or four years of higher education can be employed for 1250 and 1000 hours, respectively.

American is not the only airline to ground an aircraft. In December, United Airlines announced it would park 100 regional aircraft amid a shortage of pilots.

“The shortage of pilots for the industry is real and most airlines will simply not be able to implement their capacity plans because there are simply not enough pilots, at least not for the next five years or more,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a quarterly interview. gains in April, CNBC reported.

The shortage deepened during the pandemic, when the industry lost thousands of pilots due to early retirement and carriers expected low supply to continue as more reached the mandatory retirement age of 65, according to The Dallas Morning News.

To keep more pilots flying longer, Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) could propose a bill that would raise the retirement age to 67, according to Aviation Weekly.

“Optically, reducing the number of flight hours required may seem like a riskier approach than allowing a healthy pilot to continue flying for a few more years,” Henry Harteveld, a travel analyst and president of the Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider. .

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