- Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaskan Air, is, like many other airlines, suffering a pilot shortage, a letter from The International Brotherhood of Teamsters asserts.
- Despite a pay cut and repeated staff and union forewarnings about ongoing issues, management allegedly decided to secure future employment by becoming the exclusive operator for 30+ new regional jets. Unable to staff the jets, Horizon ultimately gave the contract to a competitor, Sky West.
- Pilots directly involved with crafting the letter offer a list of suggestions for the airline's recovery, including retention of longtime pilots, greater support for training, and reducing outsourced piloting jobs.
Pilot shortages prevail, but some air cargo carriers aren't prepared to prevent them.
Initially, the pilot shortage began in 2009 during the recession, when only 30 pilots were hired by major airlines. At that time, the economy was at issue; since then, the pilot attrition rate at various airlines has grown exponentially at lines such as Atlas Air, where pilots lack an industry standard contract. And while some airlines have acted on the shortage by sweetening most pilots' pay, many allegedly prefer not to invest in capacity or staff, instead pressuring already strained staff to fly more shifts and forego time off.
Fixing the pilot shortage will likely require investing in staff. Recruiting untrained pilots or offering scholarships at flight schools could go a long way toward filling the ever-shrinking ranks that are currently poisoning the relationship between pilots and airline owners.
As in manufacturing, employers will have to go further to get fewer workers in fields that have come to seem undesirable, whether due to pay (pilots) or interest (manufacturing). That means recruiting at high schools, junior or four-year colleges, and technical schools. It also means broadening diversity. Expanding the search, and restructuring training costs to better align with starting salaries could help solve the problem.