An immediate fix to the pilot shortage is being ignored

As the airline industry has emerged from the pandemic, the struggle to find qualified pilots continues. A lack of pilots prevents airlines from providing the necessary air service to hundreds of markets. For these smaller, and often underserved communities, a lack of commercial air service has reached a crisis point. 

On July 25, 2022, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) announced the “Let Experienced Pilots Fly Act,” which would help to alleviate some of the pilot shortage by raising the mandatory commercial pilot retirement age from 65 to 67.

Yet, some six months later, no progress has been made to move this proposed legislation along. This lack of urgency on such a critical matter is difficult to understand given the stakes.

Fewer pilots means fewer flights at a time of increased demand, meaning higher fares. This Christmas holiday season, the average air fare is at a five-year high and just after an incredible 43 percent increase in October airfares as compared to one year ago. 

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as many, if not more, people are flying today as in 2019 (before the start of the pandemic). This is placing a greater strain on airports, airlines, airline employees and the TSA as each group deals with more people flying.  

There are also fewer flights now than in 2019, meaning more people are being crammed onto fewer flights. It also means that during times of irregular…

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