What will we do?
Will there be a pilot shortage? This is the question of the month with Blogging in Formation Team. Visualize a vacuum. This will be the mainline airlines. Now watch them suck up those pilots from the commuter airlines when the time comes. The pilot shortage will be happening but at the entry level position and the commuters will suffer.
What will the commuters to do survive?
My thoughts are to pay the pilots what they are worth. They have passenger's lives in their hands and fly some of the most challenging routes with many legs. Then make the commuter a family friendly airline that supports pilot moms and dads.
Far too many women give up their careers because they can't make the schedules work while nursing their babies, or paying for childcare. What if a commuter became the family friendly airline? These women wouldn't leave because they could do it all!
Then there are airlines that own a commuter. Endeavor Air, formerly Pinnacle, Mesaba, and Colgan combined provide the "promise"... "guarantee"... not sure of the correct language... but the carrot on the end of this stick is they get to go to the mainline. Which is a huge incentive. Is it enough?
New-hire Endeavor pilots will be interviewed by mainline HR and in a few years will flow-up with no further interview. Of course a 4-year degree is the #1 requirement.
This flow up will provide an incentive for pilots to go to Endeavor. But what about the Endeavor pilots who are already flying there? Word on the airways is they are not part of this promise. I'm wondering what the work environment will be when new pilots come on board, and the captain has been trying to get hired by the mainline to no avail, but the new pilots have a guarantee. Should be interesting times and great lessons in CRM.
A pilot flying for a commuter emailed me and said he wanted to go to Endeavor, but he was having a hard time leaving his $93 an hour captain position for $25 an hour. For non-pilots $25 might sound like a lot. But this is an hourly rate for flight hours, not time at work. Thus, a typical month of 70 hours would be a whopping $1750 per month.
Pilots... what would you do?
Would working for low wages with a guarantee to work for the best Airline in the industry be your choice of a commuter? Or if you found a commuter that supported your family with reasonable wages be a career you would stick with?
Commuter airlines are worried about how to attract and retain pilots. What is the answer?
Will there be a Pilot Shortage?
Tell me what you think about the commuter as a stepping stone... And then let's all go over to Cap'n Aux's post on the Pilot Shortage and join the great debate with your blogging in formation team!