Major U.S carrier American Airlines has announced that it will bench 100 regional aircraft, stopping from operating as normal, due to the ongoing pilot shortage.
American’s CEO, Robert Isom, shared this information when speaking at an event for Wall Street analysts on Friday morning.
The Texas-based carrier has not struggled as much as competitor Alaska Airlines (whose CEO had to apologise publicly for the cancellations and delays caused by a lack of pilots available to fly its aircraft) but seems to be acting preventively by temporarily discontinuing 100 regional aircraft to avoid the chaos Alaska Airlines has struggled with.
Isom provided some clarity:
“We have probably a hundred aircraft — almost a hundred aircraft that aren’t, aren’t productive right now, that aren’t flying.”
American Airlines has not changed any capacity guidance as a result of this decision. This allows us to believe that the benched aircraft are mainly the carrier’s its lower-efficiency 50-seat aircraft – the Embraer 145 operated by Envoy Air and Piedmont Airlines and owned exclusively by American Airlines.
Isom said that the carrier has “done some up-gauging on the mainline side of things” and have done the same on the “reigional side” of the airline’s operations so they’ve been able to “offset quite a bit of the loss of pilots.”
When thinking about the future, American does aim to hire 2,000 pilots this year (with many making the switch from regional airlines), according to Isom. United Airlines has announced plans to expanded its training centre in Denver with a four-story building and launched a new flight school earlier this year for inexperienced pilots with no flight hours to learn and grow within the United ecosystem.
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