Due to the pilot shortage, US airlines are swapping planes for buses on some routes


A pilot shortage has forced some US airlines to replace planes with buses on shorter domestic routes.

Merican Airlines has operated the measure on its shortest US hops, while United has been operating bus routes to some ski resorts since 2021.

Meanwhile, other airlines, including newcomer Breeze Airways, are recruiting pilots from abroad to maintain capacity.

Beginning June 3, American Airlines announced that it would use the Festline bus company to serve its passengers between Philadelphia International and airports such as Allentown, Pennsylvania and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The airports are 116 km and 90 km from Philadelphia respectively.

Buses are painted with an American Airlines livery, tickets are sold through the airline with flights, and luggage is transported from connecting flights to the destination in the same manner as a flight.

United has offered four daily bus routes from Denver Airport to Fort Collins, Colorado (90 km away) and one daily bus from Denver to Breckenridge, Colorado (248 km) since early 2021, but says: “The goal was not to replace flights . ”

American didn’t mention the pilot shortage in its announcement about the bus lines, calling it “an easier way” to get between cities.

Increased fuel prices are also believed to be helping airlines cut flight schedules.

According to United CEO Scott Kirby last week, America produces between 5,000 and 7,000 pilots annually – but it will need an average of 14,500 each year through 2030 for airlines to continue operating at full capacity.

“The pilot shortage in the industry is real and most airlines just won’t be able to hit their capacity plans because there simply aren’t enough pilots, at least not for the next five years,” Kirby said in a conference video call.

“It will likely force United to keep 150 regional jets parked despite increased demand for domestic travel.”

“This will be one of the biggest constraints for the industry going forward,” agreed Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci at a separate event last week.

The shortage is partly due to pilots being furloughed and choosing to retire during the pandemic, with many airlines raising salaries to attract new employees.

“We haven’t seen this level of service loss since 9/11, when this crisis changed the fly-drive equation,” Regional Airline Association chief executive Faye Malarkey Black told Bloomberg this week.

“I expect this bad situation to get worse before it gets better, no matter what we do.” Due to the pilot shortage, US airlines are swapping planes for buses on some routes

Fry Electronics Team

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