|Quoting ual777 (Reply 205):|
Gonna chime in here...
First 1500 hours is not some magically impossible flight time number. It's 1.5 to 2 years of flight instructing. If you go to a 4 year university it's less. We have all done it and it's a fabulous way to gain experience.
The real issue here is that the regional model has chocked the golden goose. Regionals in the US have paid too little for too long and that has scared away a LOT of potential pilots.
In the 90s, you wouldn't even get looked at for a regional with out at least 2,500 hours. This 250 hour thing is very much a product of the last decade when people did stop showing up. The airlines response was to lower the standard of hiring in order to plug the holes in their staffing. Back then regional pilots got paid roughly the same $20,000 a year starting out that they do now. However they were flying much smaller aircraft (less revenue generating potential) and each dollar earned went much further. Wages have since been frozen as the cost of everything went up and the aircraft became much larger (more revenue generating potential) and added first class (more revenue generating potential). Seasoned pilots stop showing up to regionals and elected to go work for corporate or other better paying opportunities or left the industry all together. Some of them might come back, if the pay is raised.
There is no shortage of pilots, only a shortage of pilots willing to work for slave wages. It's shocking how little it would cost to double a first officer's starting salary. On a 76 seat regional jet (the future of regionals), each passenger is paying about 30 cents an hour in wages for the first officer. In order to double that we are talking about adding another 30 cents per hour. On a 3 hour flight, that is less than $1 per ticket. No one will notice that. On a 50 seat jet, we are talking less than 50 cents per hour increase per passenger. Even if flights aren't full, the cost is still negligible.
Instead these CEOs are so focused on driving costs down that they are going to kill the golden goose. Their regional networks will collapse and the billions of dollars they've spent on all of these regional jets will be wasted as they are only good as paperweights. It is such a stupidly obvious solution to the problem, yet they are dragging their feet. They are clinging to the hope that the seemingly endless supply of pilots still exists. It doesn't, they destroyed it when they kept asking for more and more concessions.
The problem is so much worse than the general public can possibly imagine. Flights are being cancelled now because of a lack of pilots. That isn't how it is publicized because it is easier to blame it on bad weather. Yes weather does play a factor, it exposes the poor staffing when it hits. The system takes way longer to recover and more flights are cancelled than necessary because the staffing doesn't exist to cover flights. Of course since the airline doesn't have to buy you a hotel room if the cancellation is "weather related," it is much easier to blame it on a half truth then tell the full truth.