Posted on: 26 February 2016 by Mark Howells
The Regional Airline Association (RAA) has announced its support for Republic Airways and its employees after the company announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The Association noted that Republic Airways “has been forced to ground numerous aircraft due to a lack of qualified pilots available to be hired to fly for the airline. This shortage has translated into a loss of revenue that has ultimately resulted in a need to file for bankruptcy protection”.
RAA president, Faye Malarkey Black, said that the problem of pilot supply is not limited to Republic Airways, but is endemic throughout the regional airline industry. As unprecedented numbers of major airline pilots reach mandatory retirement age, those airlines are hiring regional airline pilots at a rate that outpaces the supply of new pilots available to regional airline flight decks.
“Base salaries for new hires have increased steadily and many airlines have even offered signing and retention bonuses to attract and retain pilots, yet the number of qualified applicants for jobs at regional airlines is far below demand,” Black explained.
According to Black, while regional airlines received ample applications last year from pilots qualified to Federal standards, far fewer were able to successfully withstand the regional airlines own screening and training processes. As a result, regional airlines like Republic Airways cannot keep up with the loss of pilots flowing to mainline carriers.
“Something must be done to fix the broken pipeline of pilots, and it can and must be done while ensuring America’s skies remain the safest in the world,” Black declared. The RAA urges policymakers to consider airline-based, safety-first proposals to reconnect the pilot pipeline, restore more career certainty to the profession, and ensure airlines may once again hire the most proficient pilots.