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Airlines compete to train pilots as travel demand surges – News

Flight engineers will board the CAE Inc. 7000 Series Boeing 737-800 Flight Simulator at the CAE facility in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.

Christinne Muschi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Some of the most sought-after airline flights this summer don’t even land.

Flight simulators from Atlanta to Dallas, Miami, etc., where airlines train hundreds of pilots Rapid increase in reservations It started this spring as vaccinations began and restrictions were relaxed during the Covid era.

Domestic leisure trips Recover to 2019 levelBusiness trips are recovering, but airline executives said this month.

The airline has received $ 54 billion in federal assistance since March 2020 in exchange for not dismissing workers. However, voluntary departures, fleet changes, and the rapid increase in travel demand have created the need for pilot training, as industry experts call it. Shortening the flight schedule also meant that pilots did not make the minimum takeoffs and landings necessary to maintain flight conditions. Training pilots on new aircraft can take weeks, but annual retraining can take days.

“The unique thing about this experience is the downturn in the business. [early in the pandemic] “It was an existential threat to our business, and then something unexpected happened and we returned to travel faster than we expected,” said Brian Terry, leader of Deloitte’s global airline. I am.

It “sets a very tight schedule” for pilot training, he added.

Airline executives urged pilots and other employees to reduce their early retirement and leave to reduce costs. They parked hundreds of jets and completely retired some planes.

David Johnson, American Airlines The co-pilot of the Airbus A320 was temporarily fired during the fall between two federal aviation aid packages.He was later recalled Next round As a result of federal support in December, his five-day training session was set up more than five months later. That is, the pilot does not return to the line immediately.

Acquiring sufficient pilots through training that can take longer as pilots change aircraft helps airlines determine how well they respond to the recovery in demand. Due to summer storms and staff shortages Southwest Airlines And American Airlines, and other airlines this summer. Not having enough pilots ready to fly means that airlines have less backup.

“They entered the summer with little margin,” said Casey Murray, chairman of the Southwest Airlines Pilot Association, which represents the airline’s aviators, for Dallas-based airlines.

The Southwest recently said it was flying much like the summer of 2019, but suffered more damage than other airlines. Cancellation and delay From mid-June to early July, it started with bad weather and technical problems.

The company told Southwest Airlines that about 500 co-pilots are still on temporary vacation. The union said that about 900 pilots recalled from early leave exceeded their training capacity.

Pilot training begins at 5:30 am most days and ends by 11:00 pm, a spokesman said. He added that airlines are in the process of hiring check pilots from the ranks of flight instructors as well as flight instructors.

American Airlines is a competitor of United Airlines and Delta Air LinesAccording to a company memo in April, the pilot training was scheduled to be completed by the end of summer. However, according to people familiar with the matter, the airline has raised it so that most pilots can complete their training by the end of June.

Over 90% of Americans Boeing The 737 pilot was trained on the 737 Max, an airplane that regulators allowed to fly again after two fatal crashes, said a person familiar with the operation.Once the pilot completed the requalification training, he chose to train the remaining 10% at Max., The person said. The carrier skips both Max and the old 737.

The airline also sought temporary flights from various hubs last month, including 777 pilots at Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York.

Chiplong, Vice President of Flight Business in the United States, said: “We are doing it now and it really feels good.”

According to Long, the airline plans to hire more simulator pilots to handle the training load.

At a pandemic turning point, American Airlines last week welcomed a new class of first-class pilots whose training was derailed by the virus in March 2020.Other airlines Resume recruitmentKeep your instructors and simulators busy for months.

Recent Americans Adjusted the schedule Up to about 1% or nearly 1,000 flights until mid-July to avoid confusion due to staff shortages and other issues.

Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents the company’s approximately 15,000 pilots, said the airline overextended itself when it first planned its late spring and summer schedules.

“Mother Nature causes storms, and management creates storms,” ​​he said.

Delta is more cautious about adding flights this summer. Atlanta-based airlines have had many flight cancellations and delays due to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Lack of pilots..

According to the union, hundreds of Delta pilots are shifting or being promoted to other aircraft due to the retirement of many aircraft, the acquisition of pilots, and other issues. The airline has about 700 first-time captains. This is a promotion with additional training.

Chris Riggins, a spokesman for the Delta branch of the Aviation Pilots Association, said: “To help with that, our pilots have contributed to the entire pandemic. Now, as we recover, we fly overtime at a pace that sets a series of new consecutive monthly records dating back to November last year. I am actively applying. “

The pilot has also had record overtime for several months, the union said.

The airline said Wednesday that training and employment to prepare for the summer of 2022 contributed to a 4 percent increase in costs in the second quarter.

Delta Hire 1,000 pilots From next year to the present, airlines are considering changing the way pilots bid to fly certain aircraft to avoid training backups.

“One of the options we are considering is to create something more frequent and smaller. [advanced entitlement bids] To make it easier to manage the training schedule and conversion process, “said Bob Schmelzer, director of planning, analysis and reporting for Crew Resources, in a note to the pilot on July 9.

Delta did not say whether it would add more flights this summer if it had more trained pilots.

United Airlines Avoided some of the issues that hit other carriers. Like Delta, it returned to the market and added less capacity. The company’s senior vice president of flight operations said last year’s agreement with the pilot union allowed airlines to gain an edge over their competitors by training many of their pilots and preparing them for flight. ..

“Thank you [the agreement]”We are in a great position to support United’s bounce. Thank you for your continued focus on our business. Customers this summer,” Brian Quigley said in a staff note on July 7. There is a great opportunity to win and make United. The airline of choice. “



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