Release #: 24.02
February 05, 2024

2023 Shatters Another Record for U.S. Pilot Production

Data Demonstrates That Attempts to Increase Pilot Retirement Age Are a Solution in Search of a Problem

Washington, D.C.—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) today released updated data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) showing that the agency issued 11,225 airline pilot certificates (ATP-MELs) during the 2023 calendar year, exceeding analyst forecasts and airline demand for new aviators. This is the second year in a row that pilot production numbers are breaking records. In addition to the impressive pilot production number, the number of certified flight instructors totaled 93,567, a nearly 20 percent increase over 2019, further demonstrating that the airline pilot pipeline remains strong and robust—and there is no need to make unstudied, arbitrary changes to U.S. aviation safety regulations. 

“For months, corporate special interests in Washington have been crying wolf about a lack of available, qualified airline pilots, misrepresenting the facts in a naked attempt to protect to their profits while advocating changes in the law that would significantly complicate air travel for millions of Americans,” said Capt. Jason Ambrosi, ALPA president. “Once again, the data demonstrates that America does not have a pilot supply problem. Instead, we have a problem with some being willing to say and do anything to advance their narrow agenda at the expense of what’s best for the American traveling public. We have more than enough qualified pilots, and raising the pilot retirement age is an ill-conceived solution to a nonexistent problem—plain and simple.”

As the Senate prepares for the markup of the FAA reauthorization on Thursday, special interests continue to promote misinformation and misleading data to manufacture a crisis that will have real complications for air travel by introducing uncertainty into the system through raising the pilot retirement age to 67.

“This narrative that the United States lacks enough pilots does not reflect reality. Increasing the pilot retirement age will disrupt airline operations, increase ticket prices, upend collective bargaining agreements, create a cascading and costly training backlog, and put the United States out of compliance with international standards,” added Ambrosi. 

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 77,000 pilots at 43 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots.


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