Earlier this month, regional airline Republic Airways asked the Federal Aviation Administration to cut the amount of training time for pilots in half, a move the carrier hopes will help combat the pilot shortage in the industry.
Now major commercial carriers Delta Air Lines and American Airlines are taking a page from Republic’s playbook as both companies are considering similar measures, including trimming the number of flight training hours pilots need to become certified, according to Business Insider.
Republic, which services Delta, American and United, asked the FA A to cut training hours from 1,500 to 750. Delta already made one significant move, eliminating its requirement that all pilots have a four-year degree. Delta noted that many pilots have “gained more than the equivalent of a college education through years of life and leadership experience.”
Another possible measure to alleviate the pilot shortage – increasing the mandatory retirement age.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is apparently set to propose a bill would increase mandatory pilot retirement age to 67 years old instead of the current 65, according to Airline Weekly.
That proposal would have a more immediate effect on the shortage.
“Optically, cutting the number of required flying hours may look like a riskier approach than allowing a healthy pilot to continue flying a few more years,” Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, told Business Insider. “What’s critical, though, is for the FAA to promptly sit down with the airline industry to discuss these. The airline industry literally doesn’t have time for the FAA to drag out these discussions. We have seen route networks and airline schedules cut due to the lack of pilots, inconveniencing passengers and communities, and contributing to higher airfares.”