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Pilot shortage forces American Airlines to ground 100 regional planes

Getting a flight this summer just got more and more difficult. American Airlines is the latest major airline to experience a nationwide pilot shortage.

grounded aircraft

Nearly 100 planes are now sitting because there is no one to fly them. Most of the aircraft are operated by regional carriers Envoy Air and Piedmont Airlines (both American owned). The aircraft are essentially low-capacity Embraer 145 aircraft with a capacity of 50 passengers.

“There’s an imbalance in supply and demand right now, and it’s really within the ranks of the regional carrier,” says American Airlines CEO Robert Isom.

In an effort to limit diminishing capacity due to grounding, American Airlines is converting those routes to larger aircraft. This will allow the airline to fly the same number of people with fewer pilots.

shortage of pilots

American Airlines isn’t the only airline with a pilot shortage. The problem is twofold: some pilots took to lucrative purchase packages during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other pilots are forced to retire due to age requirements.

The shortage is cutting off the route and schedule on all major US airlines. for example, Jet Blue Already announces route cutbacks during the busy summer travel season due to staffing issues. Delta Airlines Do the same in an effort to reduce and disrupt travel delays. some Southwest Airlines pilots He recently cited pilot fatigue as a problem, as pilots log longer hours to keep up with passenger demand.

Hiring fun

To reverse the shortage, airlines are offering incentives to lure more pilots into the cockpit. American Airlines plans to hire 2,000 pilots in 2022, most of them from regional carriers. Larger airlines can offer better salaries and schedules than smaller regional airlines. United Airlines is expanding its flight training facility to accommodate more pilots in the next decade.

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summer travel

Grounding and a shortage of pilots come in the midst of a busy summer travel season. Travel industry experts can still expect a high number of visits during the summer months, despite the higher prices. These price increases are attributed to the increase in gas prices and the decrease in the supply of airlines. The decision to drop the mask on board planes and ease travel restrictions related to COVID-19, both domestically and abroad, is increasing passenger demand for travel.

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