CWU News

U.S. pilot shortage has commercial airlines hiring more college graduates

Professional Pilot Degrees just got a bit more popular as pilot shortages across the U.S. still are at an all-time high.

During the pandemic larger airlines let thousands of pilots retire early, not realizing how fast the airline industry would pick back up for people traveling, now flight schools everywhere are seeing their students recruited by larger airlines during college.

According to the TSA, Southwest Airlines, Delta, and other larger airlines canceled nearly 20,000 flights last month due to staffing shortages, including pilots.

This has given college students an upper hand when looking for commercial pilot jobs after they graduate.

"You graduate, and 12 to 18 months you're sitting in the right seat of an airliner," said Dr. Amy L. Hoover an Aviation Professor at Central Washington University. "That's unprecedented historically in our industry."

Airlines now need to replace the empty seats left by retired pilots with new ones.

"People are traveling more, you know internationally as well as nationally there's people still trending towards that retirement," said Dr. Hoover. "So we have to replace with younger pilots on the backend."

Dr. Hoover told me Central Washington University has seen an influx in students applying to its flight training program, even during the pandemic. 

To read this story in its entirety and to watch the video, visit KNDU/KNDO Right Now.

Courtesy of Sophia Lesseos, reporter at KNDU/KNDO Right Now, aired July 12, 2022.