More Rest For Pilots Could Mean Fewer Flights For Travelers

Fewer pilots and longer resting requirements could be trouble for regional airlines. The issues that grounded hundreds of JetBlue flights this week could be just the start after new FAA regulations on rest for pilots went into effect Saturday.

The new rule, which requires 10 additional hours of rest for pilots, means there could be fewer flight options available in the future, CNN Money reports.

While major airlines already have similar rest rules in place through union contracts, smaller, regional airlines do not. The new rule, coupled with a pilot shortage, means unless something changes some areas could lose service, experts say.

“Communities that rely on regional airlines are going to lose service — it’s just a question of where and how much,” Roger Cohen, president of the Regional Airline Association, the industry trade group, told CNN. “There just aren’t enough pilots.”

And smaller carriers have a hard time hiring pilots because they pay less than larger carriers.

Even if more pilots are hired, the small airlines will need to reevaluate which cities remain profitable.

Regional airlines, which operate in about 70% of the U.S. and operate about half the nations flights, generally carry passengers from smaller airports to larger hubs.

Pilot safety rules could cut flights [CNN Money]

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  1. Edmunddantes says:

    “There just aren’t enough pilots.”

    what he actually means to say is this

    “There just aren’t enough pilots willing to fly these crazy schedules at 22,000 a year”

    There are more than enough pilots out there. There are tons that have been furloughed throughout the years by the carriers as they consolidated and cut back on the number of planes flying by getting better at filling them up to capacity. It’s just the industry was not willing to pay them a decent wage.

    • furiousd says:

      the industry was not willing to pay them a decent wage

      Perhaps due to the fact that since what used to be a luxury is now all but seen as a required infrastructure? My cousin started training to be a pilot at age 11, but by the time he got to college and was checking with different pilots to see which airline would be the best to work for he discovered that pilots are treated like flying bus drivers. It wasn’t that way back in the day. Now that so many people fly the airlines are all but at the mercy of people insisting on low fares.

      My research interests are in robotics, I’d like to see the whole system automated: no pilots necessary. The major roadblock is the psychological effect of people not trusting a machine despite the fact that most of the flight the plane’s on autopilot. Perhaps if airlines were to introduce fully automated flights and let people decide when they booked a flight which plane they wanted to go on then there’d be a naturally-occurring tiered system of people willing to pay more for an actual pilot and they’d be paid better.

      • PhillyDom says:

        No, the major roadblock is what happens when (not if) something goes wrong. Do you think that any autopilot could have handled what happened to US Airways 1549 the way Chesley Sullenberger did? With a machine at the controls, that plane wouldn’t have landed on the water, it would have crashed into the water and sank.

  2. Edmunddantes says:

    Also the complaint on “phasing in the rules” is also a red herring. They were given two years before these rules went into effect.