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Sun, Nov 13, 2022

Regional Airline Association Sounds Alarm on Pilot Shortage

"We are on the precipice of a wholesale collapse of small community air service" says RAA Head

Things are looking pretty nasty for small community service in the future according to Regional Airline Association (RAA) head Faye Malarkey Black. 

During a recent meeting, Black spoke with industry stakeholders to sound the alarm about impending retractions of service amid a widespread dearth of qualified pilots. 

“We now have more than 500 regional aircraft parked without pilots to fly them and an associated air service retraction at 324 communities," she said, adding that 14 airports have lost all scheduled commercial air service. That number is just the start, not even mentioning the overall 5% decline that hit medium communities since 2009. Even in the last 3 years, 161 airports have lost more than 1 out of every 4 of their commercial flights as carrier triage staff to more popular routes. 

“We now have more than 500 regional aircraft parked without pilots to fly them and an associated air service retraction at 324 communities,” said Black. “14 airports have lost all scheduled commercial air service – a number that is still rising.”

“We are on the precipice of a wholesale collapse of small community air service,” she added. “It has already begun, with 60 U.S. airports losing more than half their air service since 2019. Every policymaker in the Administration and Congress must set aside politics and address this crisis today.”

Black was careful to state that the shortage needn't be an excuse to skimp on training standards. “The bottom line is that more structured training leads to better pilots, and RAA and its member airlines only want solutions that lead to safer pilots."

FMI: www.raa.org

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