The pilot shortage does not only affect the major airlines. Even regional airlines are feeling the brunt of this, as this is where the major carriers have been able to select pilots when needed.
But now the nation’s second regional airline is asking the Federal Aviation Administration to make a major concession so it can hire more pilots.
Republic Airways has applied to the FAA for an exemption that would allow the airline to hire co-pilots at flight schools after accumulating 750 flight hours, half of the 1,500 hours normally required.
There is, however, a method to Republic’s madness.
As TPG pointed out, Republic Airways is the only regional carrier to have its own flight training program. It works with aviation-focused colleges and universities to help reduce the number of hours needed to earn what’s called a Restricted Airline Pilot Certificate (RATP).
Republic isn’t asking the FAA for novice pilots with only half the normal training time, but it’s asking the agency to let it hire military veterans who rack up the 750 hours in its flight training academy after already taking training in the army.
The application was filed last month. The FAA has yet to respond.