Pilot Shortage Delays Commercial Service

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Big Sky Airlines says a lack of pilots is forcing it to delay re-introduction of scheduled service to Jackson, Tenn., until November. Big Sky President Fred deLeeuw told The Associated Press that an increase in hiring by larger carriers has left regional airlines short of pilots. Big Sky was to take over service to Jackson in May, two months after the FAA shut down RegionsAir for alleged training deficiencies. DeLeeuw said the airline hopes to begin with a partial schedule to Cincinnati in mid-November and move to a full schedule by December. The new airline will have an uphill battle to lure local travelers, however, according to local chamber of commerce president Paul Latture. "I think the service has been so bad for so long people have adapted," Latture said. "Until we're able to provide our citizens and give a consumer a choice, a viable choice, people will go elsewhere."