Australian Airline Cancels Route for Lack of Crew
Australia's largest independent regional airline, Regional Express (Rex), announced on Monday it will suspend one of its routes due to ongoing pilot shortages. "We are extremely disappointed that we have had to take this drastic action," said Rex Managing Director Geoff Breust. "However, given the pilot shortage, we are faced with the choice of suspending some of our regular services to build up a reserve buffer or canceling [flights] each time a pilot calls in sick." To cope with the ongoing shortage, Rex has started its own training academy, which will start next month with a class of 20 in a 32-week course. Breust called on the major airlines in Australia to follow Rex's lead and train their own pilots, "instead of simply poaching massively from the regional airlines and the pilot training schools."
The Australian pilot shortage results from a tight labor market, lots of jobs elsewhere in Asia that offer faster promotions and tax advantages, and a wave of retirements, according to ABC News. Rex operates a fleet of 35 Saab 340 aircraft on 1,300 flights weekly to 25 destinations from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. The airline expects to resume the cancelled route next March.