The pilot shortage has forced some USairlines to replace planes with buses on shorter domestic routes.
American Airlines and United have both implemented measures on their shortest routes in the United States, while other airlines including new carrier Breeze Airways are recruiting pilots from abroad to continue operations. dynamic with capacity.
From June 3, American Airlines announced it would fly its passengers between Philadelphia International and airports including Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, using the Landline coach company.
The airports are 72 miles and 56 miles from Philadelphia’s, respectively.
Meanwhile, United will offer four daily bus routes from Denver Airport to Fort Collins, Colorado (56 miles) and one daily bus service from Denver to Breckenridge, Colorado (154 miles).
Buses will be painted with American Airlines foil, tickets will be sold through the airline with flights, and baggage will be delivered to destinations from connecting flights just like on a flight.
American didn’t mention a pilot shortage in its announcement of bus routes, calling it “an easier way” to travel between cities instead. Rising fuel prices are also believed to be part of the reason why airlines cut their flight schedules.
According to United CEO Scott Kirby, the US produces between 5,000 and 7,000 pilots annually – but an average of 14,500 pilots is needed each year between now and 2030 for airlines to continue operating at full capacity. .
United’s chief executive Scott Kirby said: “The pilot shortage in the industry is real and most airlines will not be able to deliver on their capacity plans because there simply aren’t enough pilots. , at least for the next 5 years. during a conference video call last week.
“It will likely force United to keep 150 planes in the parking area despite increased domestic travel demand.”
“This is going to be one of the biggest constraints facing the industry going forward,” Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci agreed on a separate call last week.
The shortfall is partly due to pilots retiring during the pandemic, with many airlines raising wages in an effort to attract new recruits.
Regional Aviation Association chief executive Faye Malarkey Black told Bloomberg this week: “We haven’t seen this level of service outage since after 9/11, when that crisis changed course. aircraft pilot.
“I hope this bad situation gets worse before it gets better, no matter what we do.”