DeLand Sport Aviation
PHOTO COURTESY DELAND SPORT AVIATION GETTING READY TO TAKE TO THE AIR — Lonnie Blackburn, a dealer for Titan Aircraft, readies the plane for takeoff at the 2019 DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase. Blackburn’s home base is Ocala, where he is also a first responder.

An NBC News article reports that the U.S. is facing its worst pilot shortage in recent memory, forcing airlines to cut flights just as travelers are returning after more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crisis has the industry scrambling for solutions. A regional airline proposed reducing flight-hour requirements before joining a U.S. carrier, and airlines are rethinking training programs to lower the barrier to entry. Some major airlines have dropped four-year degrees from their pilot-hiring requirements, and some airlines are recruiting pilots from Australia.

Roots of the crisis? The COVID pandemic halted pilot hiring as training and licensing slowed or toppled, with airlines handing out early-retirement packages designed to cut labor expenses.

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— Compiled by Business Editor Joe Crews


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