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The U.S. has a pilot shortage — here’s how airlines are attempting to repair it

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U.S. airlines are facing a severe pilot shortage.

Management consulting firm Oliver Wyman estimates the industry is facing a deficit of about 8,000 pilots, or 11% of the overall workforce, and says the shortfall could reach 30,000 pilots by 2025.

In a bid to slash costs throughout the Covid pandemic, airlines grounded planes, and offered early retirement packages to 1000’s of senior pilots. Carriers have also seen fewer pilots coming from the military which has faced recruitment problems with its own.

“It’s great to see that there is such a necessity for pilots, but there is a level of, how did this occur that you just’re almost standing on a street corner, step right up, come be a pilot, I mean it, here’s some money,” said Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association and a pilot with American Airlines. “That is an indication that we now have failed as an establishment.”

To draw the following generation of pilots, carriers are moving more of their early training programs in-house. 

Alaska Airlines’ Ascend Pilot Academy, launched earlier this 12 months, offers would-be aviators financial incentives and employment opportunities. United Airlines has an analogous program.

So what led to the shortage of pilots within the U.S., and what are carriers like United, Delta and Alaska doing to repair the issue?

Watch the video to learn more.

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