Everyone in the aviation community has been talking about the pilot shortage. This shortage not only has already begun, but is forecast to last for the next 3 – 5 years. I thought it best to stop and reflect on the hiring for the airlines for 2013 and to take a look at what the airlines are expecting to do in the short term.
In this blog we’ve talked about the Air Force and the struggle they’ve been experiencing with the retention of pilots. They have tried to tackle the problem head on, but with limited to no success. They are losing pilots left and right to the airlines. Why? Because pilots want to fly, go figure right? But in the Air Force they aren’t getting the flight time they have been receiving in the past. Too many budget restrictions and congressional saber rattling has limited what they fly and when they fly.
Now airlines have begun hiring again, and some of them are planning to really light it up in 2014. This new hiring frenzy will have a ripple effect that will be felt though out the entire aviation community. Regional pilots will be hired in the majors and a lot of flight instructors will move into the regional carriers, it’s the natural selection of pilots that’s been happening for many years. But the frequency of these new hires will be soaring at a rate not seen in many years.
Alaskan Airlines has opened their resume acceptance between December 16th though the 29th of the month. If you have previously submitted a resume it is recommended that you do so again, we’ve seen some stories that say the older database of resumes will be cleared out. They have been hiring this year too though, with 45 new hires this year it looks promsing into 2014 as well.
The hiring at American Airlines has been nothing short of anemic, but with good reason. American was waiting for a judge to approve their merger with US Airlines in bankruptcy court. That merger was finally completed earlier this month and now American feels they will be able to compete with Delta, United and Southwest. They are forecast to do a lot of hiring over the next few years, 1500 new pilots over the next five years is what the Dallas Morning News is reporting. 40 to 50 new pilots every month from this winter into the summer of 2014 is what can be expected in the very near term.
American has attributed the need to higher new pilots to new aircraft being introduced to their fleet, more international routes, pilot retirees, and of course new and tougher pilot rest and duty time regulations from the FAA.
American airlines will of course look directly to American Eagle initially to fill their new ranks. American Eagle, Republic, Air Wisconsin, and Mesa are already feeling the pinch. But reports are showing the need to hire initially may be soften as newer, larger aircraft are brought into their fleet. The ability to move more passengers with fewer aircraft will help the number of new pilots needed but as the retirees from the major airlines increase the regional pilots will be moving faster than what the larger aircraft offset will provide.
It may be getting ugly too, Skift.com is reporting that the age old unspoken rule of not poaching other airlines for their pilots may be coming to and end. As the pilot supply decreases airlines will be scrambling to increase their number and the only way to find qualified pilots will be to find them from other carriers.
How do get them to your airline? Easy offer a better working environment, more money and more benefits and you won’t have a problem finding pilots, they will be lining up. It’s a win for the pilots!