2022 – The Year to Become a Pilot?

Published: 01-24-2022
Pilot pay is going up in response to "labor shortages".
Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

As the new year commenced, we unfortunately “celebrated” a new year of flight disruptions, cancellations, and delays. Extreme weather was a factor, but staffing shortages also played a major role, particularly due to the new Omicron variant of everyone’s least favorite pandemic.

Whenever labor “shortages” are discussed, there are always questions about what that means exactly and what the solutions are. Usually, the solutions come in two flavors: increase pay or expand the labor pool.

According to a new report by Business Insider, US airlines have chosen both, making 2022 a great year to become a pilot.

According to Business Insider, they have been seeing regional airlines beginning to offer large sign-on bonuses for new hires. Regional airlines are usually a stepping stone for newer pilots who want to eventually fly for the majors, so this should attract younger pilots and less experienced pilots.

These new sign-on bonuses will hopefully help lessen the costs that often accompany pilot training. BI cites the regional airline GoJet Airlines. GoJet is now offering $20,000 bonuses to first officers and $40,000 sign-on bonuses for experienced pilots who can join as captains.

Delta is expanding their available pool of pilots by dropping their requirement for a four-year college degree. Many Americans feel stifled by student loan debt, and many in the professional class are even lobbying the government to cancel their debt. Allowing Americans a path to a lucrative career without the inflated costs of university seems like a path forward for those who would have trouble fronting the bill for a four-year education.

Of course, airline requirements are only one piece of the puzzle. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has its own requirements for who can become a pilot, including a set amount of required flight hours.

But for pilots, new and experienced, the news of bonuses and raises should come as a welcome solution.