Saturday, March 12, 2016

Low pay + high costs = pilot shortage.

The pilot shortage continues to hurt airlines as smaller carriers and airports struggle to provide service.  Yahoo News reported this week:

Mid-sized and regional airlines in the US are suffering from a pilot shortage that could threaten the health of the broader US aviation industry.

Some regional carriers have trimmed about five percent of their flights, cuts that have hit smaller airports, such as in Redding, California, or Erie, Pennsylvania.

The staffing crunch could also constrain traffic for larger companies like United Airlines and Delta Air Lines that depend on the mid-sized companies to serve rural consumers and feed customers into their networks.

"It's becoming a crisis at some carriers, resulting in the cancellation of flights and other serious disruptions," said Patrick Smith, a pilot who runs "Ask the Pilot," an aviation blog....

Things at Republic came to a head last July, when the airline acknowledged cutting four percent of its flights due to a dearth of pilots. Delta subsequently filed suit against Republic, alleging breach of contract....

Pay gap

Aviation industry insiders cite a number of factors for the drop-off in pilots: longer working hours, contentious relations with management, fewer job protections and industry turnover with the expected retirement of some 18,000 pilots through 2022.

But the biggest factor is compensation.

Regional carriers pay pilots an annual average of $27,350, according to Paul Ryder, ALPA Resource Coordinator. That compares with an annual salary of $103,390 at large airlines, according to US Labor Department data.

Aspiring pilots must pay between $150,000 to $200,00 to obtain their license, Ryder said.

Three years ago, US regulators stiffened the requirements on pilots following a 2009 Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, New York, that killed 49 people.

Commercial pilots must now have 1,500 hours of flight time before qualifying for their pilot's license, compared with just 250 prior to the rule shift.

Adding to that burden is a shift in the broader aviation industry as regional flying has grown. Up-and-coming pilots once viewed the regional carriers as a stepping-stone to a job with a bigger company, said Smith.

"Today, the regional sector accounts for half or more of all flying, and pilots are realizing that a job with a regional often means an entire... career with a regional," Smith said.

"Fewer pilots are willing to commit hundreds of thousands of dollars into their training and education for a career with such a limited return on investment, in what has historically been a very unstable industry."

Steps taken by some regional carriers include boosting compensation, such as offering a bonus to qualified pilots of $80,000 spread out over four years, said industry consultant Kit Darby.

Companies are also granting bonuses of $500, $1,000 or $1,500 for pilot referrals, Darby said.

"An airline that wants to be able to recruit new pilots and to retain its current pilots needs to offer reasonable compensation, fair worklife balance and some career path with stability," said pilot Ryder.

"An airline that does not offer that typically has seen challenges in attracting employees."
Rest of article.  

Kingfish note: This shortage directly impacts the Jackson airport.  The shortage makes it much more difficult for Jackson to attract smaller and lower-cost airlines.  Economics are economics.  People are not going to pay so much money to become a pilot for such a small salary.  Return on investment applies to students as well as portfolio managers.  Smaller airports such as Medgar-Evers  will suffer until the the hourly requirement is lowered or pay is increased. 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't have a dog in the fight but changing management of the airport is not going to solve the number of flights or airfare problem. Ask Memphis, Shreveport, Or any number of similar airports.

Anonymous said...

the supply depot is the military. we've been at war for the last 15 years, so the military is keeping pilots longer now.

Anonymous said...

5:32 pm If you are a Mississippian, you should have a dog in this fight.
This is a political move and is not principled and not in the best interest of the State as a whole.
Aside from the fact that the well being of our Capitol should matter to everyone, if you let the legislature aid one county and/or developer to the detriment of another city or county once, they will do it again. Next time, you might not like it that your ox is being gored.

Anonymous said...

There is not a shortage of pilots. There is a shortage of pilots willing to work for the wages offered. If pay were elevated to a living wage or even professional truck driver wages, we would have enough pilots. It's an Economics 101 supply side problem that requires adjustment of the curves. Current model is not sustainable.

Anonymous said...

11:02--so either

1-pilots at 'legacy' take a pay cut to supplement 'regional' pilots wages (more money to the regional carrier funneled down to pilots)
2-executives take a pay cut to supplement 'regional' pilot wages--(again-put the money into the regional carrier pilots salaries)
3-charge more for ticket prices to make up for the difference

or is there some other solution you could propose?

Breaker One Nine said...

I know what truck drivers make. That claim is bullshit. Nor do pilots have to pee in a jar and keep it behind the seat.

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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