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Opinion: A shortage of pilots could keep the airlines from making a real comeback

March 2, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 13.5%. 1 min read.

NEW YORK, NY- DECEMBER 03: A pilot moves through New York's LaGuardia Airport on December 03, 2020 in New York City. Despite a recent rise in airline travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, the airline industry is still experiencing a historic drop in traffic and profits due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

An important question facing the airline industry is not whether it will face a pilot shortage, but when it will begin.

Murray is a former commercial airline pilot.

An important question facing the airline industry is not whether it will face a pilot shortage, but when it will begin.

At this level, some airlines may not find enough pilots to operate at capacity.

Even before the pandemic struck, several regional airlines in the United States — including Great Lakes Airlines and Republic — shut down or restructured because of challenges recruiting pilots.

For airlines, a pilot shortage has many ramifications.

In our Flight Operations surveys, airlines have consistently told us they see pilot engagement as one of their biggest challenges and staying in touch during a pandemic is surely more challenging.

While there are many challenges to overcome before the pilot shortage hits, airlines — and possibly the economy — are likely to pay a price if the industry waits until the problem is on top of them.

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