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Aviation safety expert reveals pilot inexperience problem in the industry | Travel News | Travel

As more people take to the skies, it means more flights are needed to keep up with the increased demand.

Budget airlines continue to compete in the industry by adding more flight routes to their schedule.

However, the industry is aware that with this comes the problem of a pilot shortage, with too many planes for the crew staff available.

This may not be the biggest problem for the industry. With the need for pilots increasing, it also means that pilots have less experience when they take to the cockpit.

Aviation safety expert on Air Crash Investigation David Gleave spoke to Express.co.uk on how this has happened.

He explained: “The days of many pilots coming from the military are over as the military is reducing the number of aircraft, therefore the number of pilots.”

“With the expansion of low-cost carriers putting hundreds of planes into fleets, planes are actually operating more than they used to as well. You need more pilots than ever before.

The shortage of pilots, which also is caused as they are not “able to afford to train”, means they have less experience.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) can cost up to £100,000.

An accident in 2009 with Colgan Air Flight 3407, which killed all 49 passengers, then changed the way in which the United States allowed pilots with a number of hours to fly.

Mr Gleave stated: “Pilots must have 1,500 hours experience to become a pilot in the US.” The CAA also requires the same in the UK. Before this, it was originally 250 hours.

“There is a lot of pressure to get pilots ready very quickly and in the old days you would start off with little experience but a very experienced training captain.

“Yet the training captains are reducing over time and people are becoming captains relatively early in their career with less experience.”

Pilots are then able to fly a commercial jet thanks to the number of hours they have completed in the air as opposed to a well-trained pilot.

The pilot shortage has already affected the US after Horizon Air, part of Alaskan Air, was forced to cancel flights in 2017 due to a pilot shortage.

It has yet to affect the UK but could in the future as low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet increase in fleet size.

Mr Gleave states that: “It’s relevantly infrequent in the UK to have a scheduled airline without a pilot: they tend to poach them from somewhere else.”


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