Beyond the Headlines: New Pilot Supply Study Affirms ALPA’s Long-Standing Position

This week, another airline used an alleged pilot shortage as an excuse to suspend operations, blaming life-saving safety regulations as the reason why they could not attract and retain pilots. According to the Denver Post¸ “Great Lakes Airlines has reported problems retaining and hiring on pilots for years and has drastically shrunk its route profile as a result.”

This is another example of how special-interest groups have attempted to manufacture a crisis instead of facing the truth—that lack of a career path combined with rock-bottom pay and benefits by some airlines are the real reasons they have failed to attract pilots.  These groups simply want to weaken significant safety improvements in order to increase the number of available pilots.

For years, ALPA has often been the lone voice in pointing out that an airline pilot shortage is not responsible for small community air service challenges. Air service to small communities is impacted by economics, not pilot supply. Professional pilots want promising careers with growth potential and stability.

That long-held position was recently affirmed in a new research paper authored by the Aviation Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The study cited ALPA as a leader in signaling that low pay, inadequate benefits, and a lack of career progression have caused many qualified pilots to seek employment elsewhere. And, in the years since ALPA has been bringing awareness to this issue, “regional airline pilot pay has increased at large regional carriers, and that increased pay has positively impacted hiring.”

ALPA has worked tirelessly in collaboration with the regional airline industry to address these issues and provide a clear career path for growth—and according to the recent study, those efforts are starting to take shape.

While we remain fully committed to doing what it takes to keep the pilot pipeline strong and provide reliable air service, ALPA will not support any attempts to weaken pilot-qualification requirements and make our skies less safe. And we are not alone. Leading aviation universities have come out against proposals being debated in congress, citing concerns that it would adversely impact flight training at their institutions. 

Weakening pilot qualification standards won’t result in more pilots at carriers who are currently having retention and hiring issues, it won’t create better pilots (obviously, just the opposite), and it won’t increase service to small communities. We can address pilot-supply and rural service issues without weakening air safety rules and jeopardizing the flying public. 

Tell Congress to maintain current aviation standards by submitting ALPA’s Call to Action.

Categories: Advocacy
Tags: ;