Pilot Shortage Causing Flight Service Decline at US Airports

Pilot Shortage Causing Flight Service Decline at US Airports

Pilots before takeoff at sunset. (photo via MatusDuda / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

A new study found that over 75 percent of airports in the United States have experienced diminished or lost air service due to the severe pilot shortage.

According to the Regional Airline Association (RAA), 76 percent of U.S. airports have been impacted by the pilot shortage, with more than 500 regional aircraft parked and an “associated air service retraction at 324 communities.”

RAA CEO Faye Malarkey Black said, “14 airports have lost all scheduled commercial air service – a number that is still rising.” In total, U.S. domestic air operations declined by 18.4 percent from October 2019 to October 2022.

“We are on the precipice of a wholesale collapse of small community air service,” Black said. “It has already begun, with 60 U.S. airports losing more than half their air service since 2019. Every policymaker in the Administration and Congress must set aside politics and address this crisis today.”

Data also showed that 324 commercial airports in the U.S. lost flight frequency between 2019 and 2022, with 25 large-hub airports and 23 medium-hub airports experiencing a 16 percent decline in traffic.

The RAA also found that 14 airports have lost all commercial air service since October 2019.

Domestic flights last month were down 18.4 percent from October 2019, while the total seat count for U.S. domestic operations was down just 5.3 percent.

A study released earlier this month by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) found that passenger traffic in September rose 57 percent compared to September 2021, bringing global traffic to 73.8 percent of September 2019 levels.

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