Pilot Career Center - Global
Pilot Career Center - Global

Pilot shortage has major airlines looking to fill cockpit seats

Pilot shortage has major airlines looking to fill cockpit seats

2017 02 23

2017 02 23

* The aviation industry is getting desperate for pilots.

 

OMAHA, NEBRASKA

The aviation industry is getting desperate for pilots.

 

"With all the baby boomers retiring, there's going to be even more demand for air travel, and more flights, and not enough pilots to cover it," corporate pilot Andrew Schmidt said.

As pilots are forced to retire at 65, there aren't enough new pilots to replace them. That has major air carriers grabbing up pilots from where ever they can.

"They're raiding all the pilots from the commuters," Schmidt said. "They're raiding pilots from corporate. We've had several guys that left to go fly for the majors. Everyone needs pilots."

Airlines are also looking at aviation schools for new recruits.

"If becoming a professional pilot is your career goal, there's never been a better time," said Scott Vlasek with University of Nebraska Omaha's Aviation Institute.

Vlasek said aviation programs such as UNO's have seen an increase in enrollment because of airline incentives.

"First-year pay is roughly around that $60,000. Where five or six years ago it was in the mid to low 20s for a lot of them," Vlasek said. "So you've seen a significant increase there."

Airlines are also offering "pipeline programs."

"They take you early on in training, right at your private-pilot level, or even some... flight instructors, take you, mentor you for the airlines," UNO student Brandon Perkins said.

Perkins hopes to land a job as soon as he's cleared for takeoff.

"I, myself, should have a job at an airline basically when I graduate, and turn 21, in May," Perkins said.

Another incentive for students going through an accredited aviation program such as UNO is a reduction of total flight hours needed to get an Airline Transport Pilot certificate. Instead of 1,500 hours, new graduates can start flying with the airlines after 1,000 hours.