The much discussed shortage of new airline pilots forced another US regional airline to take drastic action. Phoenix based Mesa Air Group, which owns and operates regionals Mesa Airlines and Go!, announced that its Hawaiian based airline Go! will cease operations by the end of March.
While the price of fuel has been a problem and been blamed at least partially for the shutdown, the one thing that has forced changes of this sort recently has been the lack of qualified pilots wanting to come fly for the Regional Airlines. Additionally, the Major airlines have been recruiting heavily from their regional affiliates to satisfy their own need for growth. Adding to the shortage, there are thousands of senior airline pilots being forced into retirement as they reach the age of 65 as well as new FAA enforced rules that require longer rest periods for pilots. All of these factors make up the shortage that is causing such drastic actions among the Regional Airlines.
The FAA also put into place a three year old law that requires that pilots have at least 1,500 hours of flight experience (6 times the amount of flight experience previously required) in order to take entry level flying jobs in the airline industry. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently published a report that said 11 out of 12 regional airlines in the United States are having difficulty recruiting enough pilots to fill new-hire classes at their airline.
Recently, Republic Airlines reported that it will ground 27 of their regional jets because they don’t have enough pilots to fly them. It is certain that other regional airlines will be forced to take equally tough choices in the next year.
Mesa has hired over 60 graduates of ATP’s Career Pilot Program over the last year
through a very progressive hiring agreement between Mesa and ATP. ATP offers the most direct path from zero flight time to the cockpit seat with a Regional Airline
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