Republic Airways says it wants to open the flight deck door to more underrepresented demographics and it wants the FAA to meet it halfway in terms of pilot experience. The airline says it can safely put a new pilot in the right seat of its airliners under the supervision of a trained and experienced captain at 750 hours of experience rather than the currently mandated 1500. “The Republic R-ATP Program is designed to make airline pilot career opportunities more accessible for qualified individuals from underrepresented groups who meet the selection criteria but may not have the financial means or academic support to pursue an aviation career path,” the airline said in its pitch to the FAA for an exemption to the current minimum.
Right now, the main exemption to the so-called 1500-hour rule is one that allows military pilots to get an ATP at 750 hours. Republic says its R-ATP program run through its company-owned Lift Flight Academy matches or exceeds the training standards for new military pilots and is better tailored to the airliner environment. It also says the program would be far less expensive and time-consuming for new pilots, thus making it more accessible.