Pilot shortage impacts smaller airports

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Marty Reynolds (Courtesy of the Council on Foreign Relations).

Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order allowing a recall of retired pilots. U.S. Air Force Colonel and Military Fellow Council on Foreign Relations, Marty Reynolds joins Matt Bubala to discuss a pilot shortage.  Reynolds says the new order Trump signed will give the air force and the Department of Defense an option to “fill key staff positions.” He says this doesn’t appear to be mandatory and only twenty-five retirees are allowed to be brought back per service on an assignment basis. In an article Reynolds wrote in Fortune, he talks about the pilot demand.  Pay is tough for a beginner pilot, averaging twenty to thirty thousand a year. Factoring in training to get a pilot license and gaining enough hours to fly a commercial airline, it’s easy for a beginner pilot to go in debt. Therefore,  young people are shying away from aviation. For example, those in the military get experience and training free.

Reynolds says this is a “global problem.” National airlines are still hiring, but regionally there is a challenge. ‘Fifty percent of all departures are by regional airlines. Sixty-five percent of departures are through small market airlines.” Last year, one airline had to cancel hundreds of flights and one filed for bankruptcy.  If there are less regional locations in operation, it “adds in complication of less flights and prices go up.” Passengers also lose flexibility of flying at certain times.

Reynolds states in his article that “it’s always a good time to be a pilot. It’s an amazing career and a lot of fun.” He hopes to get younger generations excited and motivated about aviation as the supply and demand of airlines and pilots changes.