News articles about the effect that the current pilot shortage is having on the airline industry are not new to most of us. We have been writing about it here at PilotJobs for several years for example. A few days ago though CNN even reported on the pilot shortage and took a shot at explaining why this is happening.
CNN mentioned the basic facts in the report, such as Boeing’s forecast that 88,000 new airline pilots will be required in the US over the next ten years. They also accurately reported that up to the year 2007 the FAA awarded almost 70,000 Commercial Certificates to new commercial pilots per year. They also pointed out that the total number of new Commercial Certificates quickly began sliding until in the year 2013 there were only 49,566 Commercial Certificates issued. Worse news is that a large percentage of those certificates were issued to the growing number of foreign students currently training in this country. These foreigners will return to their own countries after graduating, and that does not help the worsening shortage of pilots in the US.
The news report on CNN also touched on the struggles that university students enrolled in flight programs are having just reaching the necessary qualifications to go to work for an airline, and how the process seems to get bogged down before it is completed for them. When a university flight student completes their degree program, while paying $45k per year for studies, they will only have about 250 hours of flight time with little opportunity to build more flight time to qualify for an airline job.
By contrast, students training with ATP will finish their flight training in under six months with over 275 hours of flight time in their logbooks. They will then immediately begin to build quality flight experience by instructing for ATP until they are qualified to fly for the airlines. The time spent training and instructing at ATP is under two years compared to the 6 years typically spent at a university flight program, with the cost being less than half of what a university student will spend. And while university programs suffer a staggering 40% wash-out rate, the completion factor at ATP is close to 90%.
Once you have decided to take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities to fly for the airlines, getting there ahead of your competition insures you that you will have more seniority than they will have and seniority rules everything when flying for the airlines. Taking the most direct route to flying for the airlines is the clear choice to make, and that route begins by taking the first step; flight training with ATP.
CNN Article: Airlines Brace for Shortage of Qualified Pilots