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Old April 3rd, 2016, 09:31 PM   #1
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The US Pilot Shortage and its implications globally.

The US had a fantastic vertically integrated air transport network until recently. Now the small spokes at the end of that network are being atrophied as a result of a self induced pilot shortage and a flood of used 20-100 seater planes are being sold out of the US as there are no pilots available to fly them.

You could have landed in JFK on a 747, switched to a 737 to Chicago, an Embraer maybe to Colorado Springs and a Beechcraft for the last leg to Aspen...all on a through ticket from Delta. Now you need to get to Denver and hire a car the rest of the way. The smaller airports are utterly decimated.

In 2013 a change was made whereby an airline pilot had to have 1500 hours logged to get a job...the one exception made is for really really small planes flying public service routes and with less than 10 seats. Prior to then you could get a job with 300 hours experience.

This resulted in bigger airlines cannibalising smaller ones for experienced staff right down the food chain. Some 'regional' carriers in the US have gone from 100s of pilots right down to 10s of pilots nowadays as the bigger carriers poached their staff on an industrial scale in recent years.

The small airports like Des Moines Iowa that were largely served by 20-100 seater planes have shrunk their business to an enormous extent...meanwhile larger airports with 100 seat + planes servicing them in the main have grown in many cases.


And of course the smaller airlines and 'regional' carriers in the US have no need for their aircraft any more...they have nobody to fly them.

Europe is different, the end of the cold war resulted in many ex military airports coming online that are able to take an A320 or a 737 and a lot of new airlines that do not fly anything smaller ( Ryanair and Easyjet are only 2 of the better known beneficiaries) but a lot of the US airports are much smaller and unable to serve a 737 or similar...not that the business is there to fill 150 seats with any regularity.

As for who's hiring pilots in America......simply everybody is hiring but the pay for junior staff working for small airlines and whose flying hours are between the magic 300 and 1500 hours is as little as US$25k a year including all allowances.

And most of the small/regional carriers saw no bounce on their bottom lines in 2015 from the drop in fuel prices. As soon as fuel prices rise there will be a long series of Chapter 11s again....this time affecting the US Airlines you never heard of in Europe or Asia....not the international full service carriers who spent most of the 2000s in "Chapter" ( bankruptcy/administration).

....and if you see a 18 or a 20 seater plane like a Beechcraft or Cessna in the US nowadays you may be certain that half the seats were taken out just so that they could find themselves a pilot to fly the thing.
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Old April 8th, 2016, 12:04 AM   #2
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The reduction in operations at Memphis, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Phoenix is due to these airports losing their hubs as a consequence of airline mergers.
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