"If we don't have enough pilots, planes don't fly," said Greg Muccio, senior manager at Dallas-based Southwest Airlines. "Right now, it's the regional airlines are the ones that are really feeling the most heat," said Muccio. "You can talk to several of them and they are really short. I mean some of them down 100 plus pilots." "Heavy retirements are going to hit the industry over the next 10 to 15 years" said Muccio. "That just creates a void that you have to go try and fill, and that's huge.”Many airlines are raising pay and bonuses for pilots to attract more talented people to begin training for an airline career. American Airlines for example expects to hire more than 500 new pilots this year alone, many of them to replace those who retire. More than half will come from Envoy Air, one of the American's wholly owned regional carriers. Envoy Air is now hiring about 70 new pilots every month to keep up with the demand. Each new pilot hired by Envoy arrives for training with the promise of moving on to American Airlines a few years later, an added bonus for students hoping to fly for a major airline.
"As long as American Airlines is hiring pilots, Envoy pilots have a seat at American Airlines, it's just that simple," said Capt. Jon Reibach, director of pilot recruitment at Envoy. Southwest is also now hiring hundreds of new pilots each year to fill the seats of older pilots set to retire, and building a larger training facility at Dallas Love Field to keep up with the aggressive hiring demands. "We're hiring at a pretty fast clip,' said Muccio. "The last two years we've hired over 600 pilots, we'll do the same this year and I really don't see us backing off that number." Commenting on the pilot shortage Muccio said, "It's beginning to reach some of the majors, if we're not starting now to fix it we won't be able to fix it."Many new pilots at regional airlines can now start at about $60,000 a year. Captains flying big international jets for mainline carriers can earn well over $200,000 yearly. The largest and most successful flight training organization in the United States is focused on training the next generations of airline pilots, as we have done for the last thirty years, to meet the urgent demand for new airline pilots. Join the growing group of new pilots at ATP who are successfully completing flight training and entering cockpits across the US flying for growing airlines flying the latest and most technologically advanced aircraft in the world. A career in aviation begins at ATP.