The shortage is much more serious than previously thought. Major U.S. airlines are scrambling to hire more than 12-thousand pilots just this year, double the previous record for hiring in a single year.
The shortage comes as hiring was temporarily stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic and airlines handed out early retirement to pilots to cut back on costs. Not only that, but training was slowed considerably.
Reports say Senator Lindsey Graham is considering proposing legislation to raise the mandatory retirement age for pilots from 65 to 67. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby says it’ll take about five years for pilot levels to return to normal.