American Airlines regionals to offer $15,000 hiring bonus to pilots

Funny how this company has all kinds of money to throw around but can't pay the mechanics a real wage.
Still waiting since 03'- $450,000 in the hole and counting at the "big AA"
 
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Well, you're going to see more of this sort of thing as the year goes by.  The article made note that last year, the regional airlines across the U.S. (not just the AA wholly-owned as in this announcement) had planned to hire 5,000 new pilots.  They barely managed to hire 3,000.  With shortages like that, something has to give.
 
jimntx said:
Well, you're going to see more of this sort of thing as the year goes by.  The article made note that last year, the regional airlines across the U.S. (not just the AA wholly-owned as in this announcement) had planned to hire 5,000 new pilots.  They barely managed to hire 3,000.  With shortages like that, something has to give.
 
Airline management has typically bragged over the years about having "over 10,000 pilot applications on file."  I heard this (or similar quote) from either Parker or Kirby at a Crew News about a year ago.  What they don't seem to understand is that many of those applications are for pilots who have been hired elsewhere, and that every other airline in the country has the exact same applicants in their "treasure trove" of applicants.  Whittle that huge number down to those who would actually come to an AA pilot class and it's probably less than 20% of that huge number that is 
on file."  (And that number of stale applications is increasing exponentially each day.)
 
Pilots have been talking about the "looming pilot shortage" since I was hired in 1979, and we have always had collective egg on our faces when it never happened in the last 40 years.  The primary reason that the pilot shortage disappeared is that the airlines, kicking and screaming, were required to abandon their requirement that new-hire pilots be young.  Most airlines back in the 1970s would not consider an applicant over 30 years old, give or take a few years.  Court decisions and federal laws changed that, and airline hiring was opened up to vast numbers of "old" pilots (those over 30) and even allowed 20-year-active-duty military retiree pilots to get hired at the airlines.

It has taken about a generation and a half to absorb that slack, and airline management never seemed to see the inevitable reality that they now face.  All of those "old" pilots hired in the last 40 years are gone.  All of the last generation of under-30 pilots hired back in the heyday of airline hiring are now headed out the door.  The military trains a small fraction of pilots compared to the 1970s, and civilian training is far out of the financial capabilities of most young men and women (nor do they wish to make a six-figure investment in that training to get a job that starts at $25K per year.)  The recently new FAR requiring an Airline Transport pilot license with 1,500 hours of logged time made qualifying for an entry-level airline pilot job has made the task very steep to even get a hirable resume. 
 
The chickens are home to roost.  The airline management (including the new AA under the leadership of the Tempe Brain Trust) is stuck in a corner from which there is seemingly no way out.
 
What will happen?   (Here's where I would place my bets):
 
The ATA will lobby for allowing pilots with foreign licenses to operate U.S.-registered airplanes.  ALPA, APA, CAPA, etc. will vehemently object, but it will happen because that is what "the money" wants.
 
Cabotage will come to U.S. domestic flying.
 
jimntx said:
 
I question the wisdom of the flow-through agreements with the wholly-owned.  The "prize" that every new pilot wants is getting into the right seat, i.e. high paying, of a mainline narrow-body aircraft ASAP.  I wonder how long that would take going the wholly-owned-flow-through route?  If a prospective pilot waits and simply goes after a "off the street" hiring slot (which is, I think, about 50% of AA new hire classes...I don't know how the other majors do it,) he/she would immediately go to the "prize," bypassing a likely years-long wait at the wholly-owned to slug through that seniority list.
 
If I were starting over today at age 28, I would take the $15K and jump my butt into the right seat of a Piedmont Dash 8, and lobby hard for an off-the-street slot with UA, DL, or SW.  The regionals are a good place holder for a paycheck while waiting for a real airline job, but an airline manager who thinks they have "captured" these pilots for a career at AA are sadly mistaken.  They, like I, would probably be happy to repay that $15k bribe to go immediately to a $100K+ seat at DL, UA, or SW.
 
The $15K signing bonus is laughable.
 
nycbusdriver said:
 
Airline management has typically bragged over the years about having "over 10,000 pilot applications on file."  I heard this (or similar quote) from either Parker or Kirby at a Crew News about a year ago.  What they don't seem to understand is that many of those applications are for pilots who have been hired elsewhere, and that every other airline in the country has the exact same applicants in their "treasure trove" of applicants.  Whittle that huge number down to those who would actually come to an AA pilot class and it's probably less than 20% of that huge number that is 
on file."  (And that number of stale applications is increasing exponentially each day.)
 
Pilots have been talking about the "looming pilot shortage" since I was hired in 1979, and we have always had collective egg on our faces when it never happened in the last 40 years.  The primary reason that the pilot shortage disappeared is that the airlines, kicking and screaming, were required to abandon their requirement that new-hire pilots be young.  Most airlines back in the 1970s would not consider an applicant over 30 years old, give or take a few years.  Court decisions and federal laws changed that, and airline hiring was opened up to vast numbers of "old" pilots (those over 30) and even allowed 20-year-active-duty military retiree pilots to get hired at the airlines.

It has taken about a generation and a half to absorb that slack, and airline management never seemed to see the inevitable reality that they now face.  All of those "old" pilots hired in the last 40 years are gone.  All of the last generation of under-30 pilots hired back in the heyday of airline hiring are now headed out the door.  The military trains a small fraction of pilots compared to the 1970s, and civilian training is far out of the financial capabilities of most young men and women (nor do they wish to make a six-figure investment in that training to get a job that starts at $25K per year.)  The recently new FAR requiring an Airline Transport pilot license with 1,500 hours of logged time made qualifying for an entry-level airline pilot job has made the task very steep to even get a hirable resume. 
 
The chickens are home to roost.  The airline management (including the new AA under the leadership of the Tempe Brain Trust) is stuck in a corner from which there is seemingly no way out.
 
What will happen?   (Here's where I would place my bets):
 
The ATA will lobby for allowing pilots with foreign licenses to operate U.S.-registered airplanes.  ALPA, APA, CAPA, etc. will vehemently object, but it will happen because that is what "the money" wants.
 
Cabotage will come to U.S. domestic flying.
How are  lower paid airlines like  Spirit going to keep their pilots? Where can they find the money other than raising fares which challenges their business model? They already outsource everything
 
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Dirty Little Secret Alert:  Do you know for sure that Spirit pilots are paid substantially less than same pilots/airplanes on other airlines?  Quite often with the low-cost airlines, it's everyone except the pilots who get paid less than the "going" rate.  If they offered a pilot salary that was as comparably low as their flight attendants, gate agents, etc., I doubt they would have any pilots.
 
jimntx said:
Dirty Little Secret Alert:  Do you know for sure that Spirit pilots are paid substantially less than same pilots/airplanes on other airlines?  Quite often with the low-cost airlines, it's everyone except the pilots who get paid less than the "going" rate.  If they offered a pilot salary that was as comparably low as their flight attendants, gate agents, etc., I doubt they would have any pilots.
Check out Airline Pilot Central that's all they talk about lower pay  attrition etc. One CEO even referred  his  airline as "lower tier" so the pilots should lower their expectations in contract talks. Of course this is all coming from the pilot group so...
 
Worldport and jimntx:  You both have very valid points.  And the questions you raise may not be answerable until the free market settles the dust (and it will.)
 
I don't think Spirit captains are too, too far behind the four majors in terms of hourly pay.  Working conditions may be a very different story.  But the question of how Spirit will hang on to their First Officers is the more crucial for Spirit's survival.  Their captains may not want to walk away from a very decent salary to start over at one of the big 4, but the Spirit First Officers will likely jump ship the instant one of the majors calls them to a class.  For them it would be a lateral move with the likelihood of working for a long-term survivor for the rest of their career.
 
If a CEO is trying to manage expectations by calling his own carrier "lower tier," then he will "lower tier" his airline into oblivion when the pilots bolt.
It is fast becoming a "pilots' market" (if it is not already).  
 
[quote name="nycbusdriver" post="1234962" timestamp="1465915910
 
The ATA will lobby for allowing pilots with foreign licenses to operate U.S.-registered airplanes.  ALPA, APA, CAPA, etc. will vehemently object, but it will happen because that is what "the money" wants.
 
Cabotage will come to U.S. domestic flying.[/quote]

Many of those pilots from foreign countries already have the appropriate FAA issued pilot certificates.

In my area, the busiest flight schools are filled with foreign students. One seems to cater to Asian pilots, and the others, mostly Europeans. As expensive as it is to train in the US, it is considerably more expensive in foreign countries, as well as having a wider choice of flight schools.

It could certainly play out as you suggest.....
 
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