In practical terms, the pilot shortage has eased somewhat, but there are a lot of twists and turns with the data according to a study by consulting firm Oliver Wyman. In a presentation to the Regional Aircraft Association annual meeting, reported by Travel Weekly, company partner Geoff Murray said the North American airline industry is short 14,300 pilots, but that’s down from 16,900 last year. But part of the reason for the shift is that so many regional airplanes have been parked.
Murray said mainline airlines have pretty much filled their pilot vacancies but they’ve done so at the expense of the regionals, which have had no choice but to cut flights and park airplanes. He said regional flights have dropped 36 percent since 2019 and restoring the previous levels of service would require another 6,000 pilots. There are hopeful signs in pilot training, however. Oliver Wyman expects 6,900 new ATPs to be qualified this year against 4,200 pilots who will retire.