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Too Many Airline Pilots?

by John M. White |

While business aviation finds a shortage of qualified pilots (qualified being the operative word) to fly business jets for the share programs like NetJets, Flight Options and Sentient, the airlines find themselves overstaffed and are reducing the number of pilots they employ. To further aggravate this problem several airlines have gone out of business, including ATA in Indianapolis, IN. The Department of Transportation recently released a report that the number of employed airline pilots declined by 1.8% in 2007, from 64,793 to 63,648 while the number of maintenance workers declined from 43,560 to 43,490 last year. Fuel represents the largest expense for airlines, and fast rising crude oil prices have already forced a number of small air carriers into bankruptcy protection or out of business completely. For example, Mesa Airlines, a large commuter air carrier which operates aircraft for Delta, US Airways and United Airlines was recently told by Delta that they were going to terminate a regional flying contract with the carrier. If Mesa can not find a way to redeploy the unused aircraft it will have to file bankruptcy by July 20, 2008. While Mesa won a temporary injunction it in no way guarantees that it will continue to operate for Delta. As reported earlier this decline in service by the major air carriers has provided a boom for bizjet operators and sales. One of my friends flew for ATA and has told me that he is sick of the airline business and is looking for a more stable position in corporate aviation. What a change from the 70's and 80's! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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