Airlines Go On A Record Breaking New-Jet Shopping Spree

The Associated Press released an article today that really describes the cause of the current pilot shortage. The article talks about how the Airlines are on the largest jet-buying spree in the history of aviation, ordering more than 8,200 new planes with manufacturers Airbus SAS and The Boeing Co. in the past five years. There are now a combined 24 planes rolling off assembly lines each week, up from 11 a decade ago. And that rate is expected to keep climbing. The airlines need new pilots to fly these new aircraft.

“U.S. airlines are buying aircraft. After suffering through the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, bankruptcies and recessions, they’re now strong enough financially to buy new jets. Domestic carriers spent $11.6 billion last year on capital improvements — including new planes — up from $5.2 billion in 2010.

“We are producing twice as many airplanes today as we were 10 years ago,” says Mary Prettyman, Airbus’ vice president of strategic marketing for the Americas. It will take Airbus eight years to fill all its current orders. “It’s unprecedented.”

“It certainly is an opportunistic time. There’s no doubt about that,” says John D. Rainey, United Airlines’ chief financial officer.”

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