Potential shortage of airline pilots - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Potential shortage of airline pilots

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For pilot Chris Rossing, flying has been his passion since he was a boy. Now 45, Rossing is talking about a challenge the industry is facing - not enough pilots.

"It's going to be a very real shortage in the coming years," said Rossing.

Beginning next summer, those who want to pilot commercial jets will need 1,500 hours of expensive flight training before they can be hired. Plus, the retirement age for commercial pilots has been changed to 65 from 60. Rossing doesn't think that's a major problem now, but it will be.

"About three years from now some (airlines) are going to be having up to 300 or 400 a year retiring. And, Boeing predicted in the next 30 years that they're going to be up to a half a million pilots needed worldwide," said Rossing.

Recently, the airline industry has seen a pattern of stagnation, something Rossing hopes changes.

"That means there hasn't been a lot of hiring," said Rossing. "There hasn't been a lot of movement through the ranks, and it's all about seniority when you get to the airlines because you tend to fly the better trips, make more money, and fly bigger airplanes, and have more time off."

Despite the ups and downs of aviation, Rossing says the airline industry is a good one.

"I do have to say it's a great job. I totally enjoy doing it. I just had a layover in Puerto Vallarta four days ago. A great time to go in the dead of winter."

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