Tags: Pilot | shortage | higher | prices

Pilot Shortage Seen Leading to Higher Flight Prices

By    |   Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 01:24 PM

The airline industry faces a pilot shortage, and that's bad news for consumers, experts say.

The shortage stems partly from low salaries. Starting salaries for pilots at regional airlines are only about $22,000 a year, and even for those with five years of experience, the pay is only about $35,000, according to MarketWatch.

In addition, a government rule implemented in August requires most commercial-airline pilots to have at least 1,500 flight hours of experience, up from 250 previously.

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The pilot shortage already has had an impact. Republic Airways has decided to take 27 of its 243 planes out of service as a result.

"The short-term answer is the aviation industry is just going to get smaller," Bryan Bedford, CEO of Republic Airways Holdings, told MarketWatch. "If a city can’t support a larger-capacity aircraft, then those airplanes will go where they can be supported."

Consumers will suffer, George Hobica, the founder of AirfareWatchDog.com, tells MarketWatch. "It has to result in higher prices simply because there are fewer seats and demand isn’t going down."

Non-stop flights will also be harder to come by on less popular routes, he says. "There will be missed vacation time."

Raising young pilots' salaries at regional airlines may not solve the problems, experts say. That could make major airlines more reluctant to outsource their flights to regional carriers, John Thomas, global head of aviation at L.E.K. Consulting, tells The Wall Street Journal.

"You'd basically put the regional industry out of business," he said.

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The airline industry faces a pilot shortage, and that's bad news for consumers, experts say.
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2014-24-18
Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 01:24 PM
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