US Airlines Facing Major Pilot Shortage Despite Rising Wages


With more than 30,000 airline captains rapidly approaching the mandatory retirement age of 65, and with an insufficient pool of young pilots lurking around ready to replace them, the largest U.S. airlines will start feeling the shortage in as little as three years,Bloomberg News reported this week, citing a study by the University of North Dakota’s Aviation Department.

If the trend doesn’t change quickly, in just 10 years we’ll be 15,000 pilots short of the number needed to sustain current travel routes.

So if you think you’re sitting too long on the tarmac now, just wait till there’s nobody in the cockpit.

“That is one of the things in my job I get to worry about every day and when I go to bed at night,” Greg Muccio, a senior manager at Southwest Airlines Co., told Bloomberg. “The biggest problem is a general lack of interest in folks pursuing this as a career anymore. That’s what puts us in the most jeopardy.”

“Every major we’ve talked to, they are concerned beyond the next three to four years,” said Jim Higgins, the principal investigator on the UND study.

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