September 27, 2022
Why the Biggest Pilots Union Is Saying There's No Pilot Shortage

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has reiterated its belief that no pilot shortage exists in the U.S, and instead blamed airlines’ scheduling exuberance and a failed regional carrier model for recent operational disruptions.

“The United States is producing a record number of pilots, yet some are still trying to claim we need to weaken aviation safety rules to fix a problem that doesn’t exist,” ALPA President Joe DePete said in a statement on June 7.

ALPA stands alone in its view that there is no pilot shortage in the U.S. The CEOs of the big three carriers — American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines — all have said their regional affiliates face challenges hiring pilots. And even Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has acknowledged a shortage, saying in May that it was a “national issue” that was “disproportionately affecting smaller regional carriers.”

“Airlines aren’t canceling profitable routes, trimming capacity as domestic demand is soaring, leaving fares on the table and otherwise taking revenue hits because they want to play this ‘Is the earth flat or is it round?’ with the collective bargaining units,” Regional Airline Association (RAA) CEO Faye Malarkey Black said in response to DePete’s comments. 

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