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Epic Addresses Pilot Shortage

February 6, 2014

New Smyrna Beach, FL – Epic Flight Academy is addressing the long-predicted pilot shortage. Is the shortage of pilots that was forecasted and anticipated for the future here already? Wall Street Journal’s News Hub video series reported on 2/3/2014 that airlines have already had to cut regional flights due to a lack of pilots.

Over the weekend, United Airlines announced that it cut 60% of departures from Cleveland because their affiliate that flies out of Cleveland couldn’t fill pilot jobs. Great Lakes Airlines, flying out of the midwest, announced it is cutting service in six small cities there that have no other carriers due to inability to fill pilot jobs.

Why is there a pilot shortage, and where are all of the pilots?

In August 2013, Epic Flight Academy and others reported that pilot jobs would be affected by government regulations requiring more hours of experience. The Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act makes it illegal to be a commercial airline pilot with fewer than 1,500 hours of flight experience. Danny Perna, CEO and founder of Epic, explained. “Pilot jobs were furloughed from major airlines, and then those airlines had to attempt to refill those pilot jobs by recruiting more experienced pilots from smaller, regional airlines. Furthermore, we reported that thousands of pilots are retiring and leaving a difficult to fill void in pilot jobs due to retirement.”

New pilot rest rules compounded the problem. Less flying time per pilot means more pilots are needed to maintain existing routes – 5% more.

So United, Delta, and American are trying to fill pilot jobs by hiring away from smaller regional airlines. What is the conundrum, and why are airlines unable to fill pilot jobs?

While larger airlines are taking pilots from smaller airlines, the smaller ones are trying to entice more new pilots with signing bonuses and other marketing strategies. Part of the problem with that approach is that salaries currently don’t compensate very quickly for expenses incurred to increase flight time and experience.

The pilot shortage problem has begun and will proliferate as more routes end, and more hubs are closed. Unfilled pilot jobs is a problem that has already begun affecting less populated and rural areas of America.

For a limited time, Epic Flight Academy’s domestic students can train to become a pilot and graduate with a flight instructor job in our Zero to Hero Pilot Course. “This is one course of action we can take immediately,” Perna said. “It has been popular with students, and it will ensure that we have enough flight instructors.”