Regional airlines have a solution to the shortage of pilots

Regional airlines have a solution to the shortage of pilots

Mesa Airlines has purchased 29 two-seater aircraft for the Pilot Development Program as part of its effort to combat an ongoing pilot shortage, the regional airline announced Thursday.

The planes will help build the airline’s pilot development program, which aims to provide pilots with a quick opportunity to earn the 1,500 flying hours required by the FAA to fly commercial aircraft. According to a press release from Mesa Airlines. In addition, the Airline An additional 75 aircraft can be purchased over the next year.

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According to Mesa Airlines, Newly purchased aircraft It will begin operating next month in Florida and later in Arizona. The fleet will have a capacity of up to 2,000 hours of combined daily flight time and more than 1,000 pilots annually once it is fully operational.

Southwest Airlines pilots pre-check a 737 before a flight at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. (Photo by Associated Press/Mike Stewart) (AP Photo/Mike Stewart/Getty Images)

“A pilot shortage can become a permanent feature of the aviation industry,” Mesa Airlines CEO Jonathan Ornstein said in a statement. “It’s basic accounts. If there are not enough trained pilots, customers suffer loss of service and ticket prices skyrocketing.”

Airlines have seen a 4% drop in pilot numbers since 2019. More than 14,000 pilots It will need to be hired every year for ten years to keep up with the shortage, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

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Shortage of pilots and other airlines, inclement weather and other factors wreak havoc on flights in recent months, prompting airlines to increase hiring and Reduce flight schedules To combat delays and cancellations.

A canceled flight on board at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport, Wednesday, Dec. 3. 29, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP Photo/Alex Brandon/AP Newsroom)

Mesa Airlines said its pilot development program is intended to help reduce the pilot shortage. Through the program, qualified pilots will get up to 40 flying hours per week and benefits such as priority status for airline employment, according to the company.

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Mesa Airlines said in the statement that the airline will fund $25 per hour flight costs for pilots while they work toward their certification, with the pilots obligated to reimburse costs over three years without interest while working for the company.

“Our program will be the most cost-effective and one of the fastest paths to a long-term career as a professional pilot,” John Hornibrook, senior vice president of flight operations for Mesa Airlines, said in a statement. “We want to make it as easy as possible for a whole new field of candidates to join MESA, including in particular people who might not have traditionally considered flying.”

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