Airplane tickets can get expensive and that is no secret. Depending on the final destination, plane tickets can be thousands of dollars. The secret that these airlines are keeping from the public is the major crisis they are currently facing with many underfunded pilots leaving the industry.
Time Inc. recently published an article discussing this shortage and its impact on travelers. Time stated that on average, a new pilot’s salary is approximately $20,000 and the requisite training costs $150,000, not including the required college degree.
This problem has caused airlines numerous problems with no easy solution. As many people have suggested raising wages, it’s not as simple as it looks. Higher pay would convince more pilots to work in the airline industry, but regional airlines cannot afford this without increasing ticket prices. Airlines like Republic Airways have offered entry-level pilots a smaller increase in pay, but pilots who are unionized must decline this in hopes of winning a bigger payday, according to Motley Fool.
How big is this crisis and how does it affect public relations? Aviation Week reports that there is an upward of 20,000 cockpit seats expected to open up at U.S. airlines alone in the next seven years. This lack of pilots could lead to fewer flights, higher ticket prices, and even smaller U.S. cities losing their air service. Airlines need to not only make sure their consumers are satisfied, but also their employees. Pilots need to be happy with their demanding and highly technical job and unfortunately for airlines, that means a higher salary.
This issue will not be easy to solve. It will force air carriers to do a better job allocate funds as well as recruiting pilots, both steps likely to cause an increase in the price of air fares.