Airlines offer aviation programs to combat pilot shortages

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 6:31 PM EDT
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(WBNG) -- Faced with staffing shortages, particularly pilots, airlines have canceled thousands of flights for the summer season.

More than 5,800 flights were delayed and over 1,400 were canceled going within, into, or leaving the United States yesterday, according to the flight tracking platform FlightAware.

To increase interest in aviation careers, experts said airlines are offering everything from pilot training programs to salary increases.

University of North Dakota Professor of Aviation Elizabeth Bjerke said the next generation of pilots will have a large impact on these shortages.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Bjerke said. “The numbers that the airlines are hiring at this point are creating a lot of demand and a lot of interest in the young people in aviation, which is great. We need young people interested in these career fields.”

To get students interested, Bjerke said airlines are getting creative.

“They have a lot of pathway programs, they have a lot of bonuses, whether they’re sign-on bonuses or retention bonuses,” Bjerke said. “Again, many of these pathways are tied to come of the major carriers, flowing through their regional carriers.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country will need more than 14,000 pilots each year for the next decade.