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Monday, June 5, 2023

FAA turns down airline request to hire less-experienced pilots during shortage

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In an effort to solve the ongoing pilot shortage, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has denied a regional airline’s request to hire a less-experienced flight crew.

There has been a pilot shortage for the past few years at the US regional airline Republic Airways, which flies for a few other US airlines like United Express, Delta Connection, and American Eagle.

The airline requested FAA approval in April 2022 to employ pilots with at least 750 hours of flight time for a first officer position if they successfully complete the airline’s training program, which may be comparable to military flight school.

However, the FAA said on September 19, 2022 that it would be rejecting the request because it might significantly reduce safety.

“The FAA disagrees with reducing the amount of required aeronautical experience at this time. Further, the FAA finds that, if a reduction in hours was appropriate, an exemption is not the appropriate vehicle with which to make such a determination,” the FAA’s Denial of Exemption reads.

“The FAA disagrees that the reduction of R-ATP flight hours will address a perceived pilot shortage, reduced commercial aviation services to small communities, or recruitment within diverse talent pools,” it continues.

“The FAA maintains that a reduction of hours is an inappropriate vehicle to lower part 61 pilot certification standards for these reasons. First, the FAA lacks statutory authority to regulate based on a perceived shortage of pilots. The FAA considers it to be of greater public interest to ensure and maintain the level of safety provided by the foundation of integrated aviation education,” the authority concluded.

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