If you’ve ever dreamt of becoming a pilot, right now may be the perfect time to take-on the challenge. Right now, the major airline industry is scrambling to fill a large void of employable pilots, qualified to fly passengers on domestic and international routes. Although companies like Delta, American and United have recently introduced new flight training programs and facilities, there’s still a massive shortage of pilots – and there likely will be through the next decade or longer. As such, entering the industry now can set you up with a high-paying job as a major airline pilot in the coming years.
As a new pilot, you’ll likely face many unexpected ramifications of the current shortage. Let’s explore some of these industry trends and how small ripples have turned into systemic issues, both positive and negative, that are affecting everyone from pilots to crew members to passengers and beyond.
Increased Pilot Salaries
The major airlines have always paid their pilots well, but recently salaries are starting to skyrocket. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for airline pilots was more than $200,000. Even regional carriers are offering a hefty, $90,000+ starting salary for new pilot hires, while other carriers like GoJet Airlines and Avelo Airlines are raising signing bonuses to $20,000. This is a win for pilots, as wages have stayed somewhat stagnant since 2010, but has also affected other areas of air travel.
Increased Ticket Prices
Because airlines are spending more on pilots, they will eventually need to raise prices on tickets, if they haven’t done so already. Add in pandemic recovery and inflation response, and you can see a formula for increased air travel prices. Overall, airline fares are almost seven percent higher than this time last year. Thankfully, prices seem to have peaked last year and are on the decrease, so passengers may not feel a bad pinch for much longer.
Majors Pulling From Regionals
Due to the shortage, major airlines are recruiting regional airline pilots more and more, leading to a number of negative ramifications. Without pilots to fly for regional carriers, it’s difficult for the companies to maintain flight routes. Not only that, but when good pilots are taken by major airlines, the regional airline must constantly invest in recruitment and training of new pilots which gets costly and leads to increased ticket prices for passengers.
Difficulty Attracting New Pilots
Although this problem has existed for a long time, the pandemic of 2020 pushed it to the forefront of the industry – the prohibitive cost and time requirements of flight training. Domestic carriers waited until the problem could no longer be ignored, with companies like United, Southwest and JetBlue finally opening their own flight schools or entering partnerships with independent flight schools to usher students into their career pipeline. So, while the pilot shortage has revealed a massive problem with the training system, it’s forced large investments into the future of aspiring pilots and crew members.
A Possible Increase In The FAA Pilot Age
Although a lofty goal, there has been congressional interest in increasing the FAA-limited pilot age from 65 to 67. As it stands now, no baby boomers will be able to fly past the year 2029, and airlines need to fill thousands of spots every year to replace them. Since there has been difficulty attracting new talent, the idea to raise the pilot age has come into play.
A Self-Fulfilling Shortage Problem
A shortage of pilots means a shortage of people to train those pilots. This can be a major obstacle for people who are looking for premium instruction but can’t find it, or are hindered by the high price point or lengthy training schedule. Overall, independent flight schools are stepping up to fill the void left by domestic airlines, offering professional pilot training that will help people obtain a position as a co-pilot or captain. With financial assistance and accelerated courses, you can craft the future of your dreams by partnering with the right institution.
Partner with a qualified flight school and become a major airline pilot!
The pilot shortage in the major airline industry presents a unique opportunity for aspiring pilots to find secure, high-paying jobs. However, the shortage has brought about several unintended consequences that are having far-reaching implications in the industry. Despite these challenges, major airlines are making investments into pilot training by opening their own flight schools, and independent schools continue to train pilots for professional positions. If you have a passion for flying, now is the time to pursue your dreams and partner with a qualified flight school to become a major airline pilot.
Inflight Pilot Training is a premier group of instructors in the Twin Cities. With a highly reputable training program, world-class facilities and large aircraft fleet, it’s our goal to help those who’ve dreamed of flying conquer the skies. We can help you pursue a career that you’re passionate about – get in touch with our team to find out more.
For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.