Airlines Offering Competitive Salaries To Combat Pilot Shortage

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The world is experiencing a pilot shortage, and one South Dakota senator can feel the impact here at home. According to the latest report by Boeing, 790,000 new pilots will be needed to fly the world fleet over the next two decades.

It’s simple supply and demand: There are more travelers wanting to fly than ever before, and less pilots to fly those planes.

Mainstream airlines pilots are required to retire by age 65, and airlines are willing to pay top dollar for the next generation of aviation enthusiasts.

“Just the shortage alone is a snow-balling effect,” said Clay Anderson, the owner of Sioux Falls Flight School.

They’re offering big signing bonuses and salaries to help close the gap.

So, why aren’t more people becoming pilots?

There are a number of routes to become a pilot – but many of them are expensive. Anderson says some university programs cost up to $250,000. Programs without a degree often cost six figures. The military will pay for your schooling, but that comes with a service commitment

Still, Anderson says the educational investment will pay for itself in the long run.

“Almost any main airline is going to offer one of my students, who’s at that point a commercial pilot, but he’s maybe flight instructing- they’re going to give him x number of dollars to a maximum 10 to 12 thousand dollars signing bonus,” said Anderson.

Recent rules have significantly increased the cost and entry requirements for this critical career,”said Republican U.S. Senator John Thune last November. Thune’s office did not respond to our request for an interview.

Last week, Delta Airlines announced its plans to hire 8,000 pilots over the next decade.

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