Nationwide pilot shortage allowing for younger pilots to fly commercial planes

Published: Jan. 9, 2020 at 5:53 PM CST
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A pilot shortage in the nation has airliners scrambling.

Experts say almost half of pilots flying for major airlines in our country right now will be retiring in the next 10 years. This makes it a little sweeter for young pilots graduating from flight school here in the metro.

These students at the age of just 20 or 21-years -old are almost ready to graduate. And right out the gate, they'll go from flying small planes to flying airliners with dozens of passengers.

“Almost every day in class they taught us that the pilot shortage is real,” said the student.

Leighton Kaluza and Damon Miler are pilots at advanced air in Council Bluffs. They're two of thousands of students ready to fly commercial airliners once they graduate.

“The first time you fly an airliner there’s paying people in the back and they don’t know,” said Miler. “We are really fortunate, it’s a great time in aviation.”

Authorities are now forcing airline pilots to retire at the age of 65.

“What’s happening is that the pilots are aging and retiring out of the system,

and as they retire out there's nothing in the pipeline to fill them back up,” said Kelly Deed, Advanced Air Inc.

Deeds says their flight school has grown over the last 5 years as more people gain interest in becoming a commercial pilot. They currently have students from all over the world - from South America and as far as Japan.

The school is a direct feeder for airlines such as Southwest, Envoy, and Skywest Kahlua will finish flight school in May and already has a job lined up with Republic Airlines.

“In the past it was we were fighting to get hired and get a job somewhere and now the tables have totally turned,” said Kahlua.

The students say because of the high demand for pilots- airliners are now offering higher pay and bigger bonuses to sign on.