Skip to main content

Airlines Face Acute Shortage of Pilots

EKU Aviation Fleet

According to EKU Director of Aviation Ralph Gibbs, “As EKU continues to improve and expand its aviation program, it is worth noting that the aviation industry is also preparing for a significant shortage of pilots and other aviation professionals. The article that follows provides current and potential student analysis by The Wall Street Journal heralding this growing employment opportunity for EKU aviation program graduates.

Even more significant is this article’s discussion of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) change to the requirements to fly as a co-pilot in any of our country’s airliners. Currently, a pilot with a commercial certificate and approximately 250 total flight hours can be hired by the airlines to fly as a right seat copilot. However, beginning next summer, ALL airline pilots will have to possess an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, which requires at least 1,500 total flight hours. There are two exceptions to this rule. One is a military pilot and the other is a graduate of a university-based professional flight program. With this change, EKU professional pilot graduates will be eligible to apply for their ATP at 1,000 hours versus 1,500. Thus, their pathway to the cockpit of a major or regional air carrier will be shorter because the FAA recognizes the depth of aviation knowledge and aeronautical skills acquired by students completing a university flight training program.

Finally, EKU Aviation uniquely prepares its students to meet this national and international shortage in two ways. First, like many other aviation university programs, our professional flight graduates earn the instructor pilot certificates as part of their baccalaureate degree. This first job as flight instructor is how most new pilots increase their total pilot hours from 250 at graduation to 1,500. Secondly, EKU graduates will complete their commercial certificate with at least 100 multiengine hours (MEL), a minimum requirement to “land” a corporate twin engine flying job. Thus, as the only university in the country currently offering 100 MEL hours, EKU graduates have multiple pathways to their first flying job on day one after graduation. In short, it is a great time to be professional pilot and it is an even better time to be an EKU Aviation student!”


The Wall Street Journal, Monday, November 12, 2012
By SUSAN CAREY, JACK NICAS and ANDY PASZTOR

U.S. airlines are facing what threatens to be their most serious pilot shortage since the 1960s, with higher experience requirements for new hires about to take hold just as the industry braces for a wave of retirements.

U.S. airlines are facing what threatens to be their most serious pilot shortage since the 1960s, with higher experience requirements for new hires about to take hold just as the industry braces for a wave of retirements. Jack Nicas has details on Lunch Break. Photo: AP.

Federal mandates taking effect next summer will require all newly hired pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of prior flight experience—six times the current minimum—raising the cost and time to train new fliers in an era when pay cuts and more-demanding schedules already have made the profession less attractive. Meanwhile, thousands of senior pilots at major airlines soon will start hitting the mandatory retirement age of 65.

Another federal safety rule, to take effect in early 2014, also will squeeze the supply, by giving pilots more daily rest time. This change is expected to force passenger airlines to increase their pilot ranks by at least 5%. Adding to the problem is a small but steady stream of U.S. pilots moving to overseas carriers, many of which already face an acute shortage of aviators and pay handsomely to land well-trained U.S. captains.

Read more Wall Street online articles...

Published on November 12, 2012

Open /*deleted href=#openmobile*/