Potential Pilot Shortage Leaves South Florida In The Spotlight
The airline industry could be in store for some major changes, leaving South Florida to play a key role in its recovery.
Airline industry experts say an estimated 35,000 pilots are going to be forced into retirement over the next six years, which will lead to an unprecedented shortage.
That means more pilots will be needed, and local flight training facilities could boom because of the typically year-round good weather we experience.
Freddy Antolinez with Endeavour Flight Training in Opa-Locka says even with more students training, it still might not be enough.
“They are now struggling to find those pilots,” says Antolinez, “Yes we at the flight schools are producing the pilots, but not at the rate the airlines need it.”
He says regional airliners will suffer the most as major carriers take their best pilots. And with starting salaries for regional pilots around $20,000 a year and F-A-A requirements demanding 1,500 hours minimum to fly for them — it could be a rough patch.
But it’s not out of the realm of possibility for a lucrative career as a commercial airline pilot. Well-trained pilots with tens of thousands of hours of flying can see easily see six-figure salaries with major airliners as captains for international flights.