“No Quick Fix” – Severe Pilot Shortage Reduces Flights, Sends Ticket Prices Soaring

A severe pilot shortage in the US slashed flights just as the travel season ramps up, which will cause ticket prices to skyrocket this summer, according to CNBC.

The origins of the shortage began in the early days of the virus pandemic when pilot hiring, training, and licensing came to a stall. Then airlines forced thousands of pilots into early retirement to slash labor costs as travel demand cratered.

Now lawmakers on Capitol Hill are proposing legislation to increase the retirement age for airline pilots from 65 to 67 to extend pilots’ flight time as the industry scrambles for solutions.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby told investors during an earnings call in April that the shortage could last for years.

“The pilot shortage for the industry is real, and most airlines are simply not going to be able to realize their capacity plans because there simply aren’t enough pilots, at least not for the next five-plus years,” Kirby said. 

The shortage has hit regional carriers the hardest. Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group, which flies for American and United, lost tens of millions of dollars last quarter because of flight reductions due to the lack of pilots. – READ MORE