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United Airlines CEO says 100 of its regional jets are grounded because of a pilot shortage

Business
United Airlines at LAX
United Airlines aircraft at LAX.

  • United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said 100 planes are grounded because of a pilot shortage.
  • Kirby said in a Senate hearing that United can’t fly to all the small communities it wants to due to the shortage.
  • Kirby and other airline executives said they’re working on training more pilots.

United Airlines CEO, Scott Kirby, told legislators on Wednesday that 100 of its planes are grounded due to a shortage of pilots.

“There has been a looming pilot shortage for the last decade in the United States, and going through COVID it became an actual pilot shortage,” Kirby said during a Senate hearing with other airline executives.

The 100 regional aircraft are sitting idle “because there’s not enough pilots to fly them,” meaning that United can’t fly to all of the smaller communities that it would like to, Kirby said.

“I’m a little less optimistic that that situation is going to reverse itself in the near term unless we do something to increase the supply of pilots,” Kirby said.

American Airlines CEO, Doug Parker, said in the hearing that the shortage will become an issue if the carrier can’t recruit enough pilots for regional aircraft routes.

Kirby, Parker, and John Laughter, Delta Airlines’ executive vice president and chief of operations, all said in the hearing that their carriers are working on training more pilots.

“We are seeking to train 5,000 pilots by the end of the decade, with the goal that half of the students will be women and people of color, all while maintaining our incredibly high training standards,” Kirby told the hearing.

Kirby added that financing for flight training poses a problem because pilots first have to spend $150,000 to qualify for the necessary certificate.

United didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider