Pilot Pay increased as the Hiring Battle Heats Up
The aviation industry is witnessing fierce competition for regional pilot pay, with American Airlines facing a challenge from underdog Mesa Airlines. In a recent union announcement, Mesa Airlines pilots are set to experience a remarkable transformation in their wages, going from some of the lowest-paid pilots to now having the highest wages in the regional airline sector. As part of the new contract, starting from September 15, entry-level first officers at Mesa will receive $100 an hour, while first-year captains will enjoy $150 an hour, marking a substantial 118% and 172% pay increase, respectively.
The significance of competitive compensation in the regional airline industry cannot be underestimated, especially amid the ongoing labor shortages that have plagued the aviation sector. The surging travel demand has led to a summer filled with flight cancellations and delays, intensifying the need for trained pilots at all levels. Smaller carriers like Mesa have felt the impact of the pilot shortage acutely, struggling to retain talent as larger mainline operators with more attractive pay packages lure regional staff away.
The Air Line Pilots Association has also recognized the gravity of the situation, with experienced captains now being offered $215 an hour. Mesa Airlines CEO, Jonathan Ornstein, highlighted at a Senate Commerce aviation subcommittee hearing that the pilot shortage poses the most significant threat to the industry since 9/11. He revealed that Mesa Airlines experienced a nearly 5% loss in its pilot workforce in just one month, with major airlines and operators of larger jets poaching their pilots.
With strong competition in the regional airline industry, Mesa Airlines understands the importance of attracting and retaining experienced and qualified pilots. American Airlines had previously raised pilot wages at two of its regional carriers, Envoy and Piedmont, to $90 an hour for entry-level first officers and $146 an hour for first-year captains. In the face of this, the recent Letter of Agreement ensures that Mesa remains competitive by offering the compensation necessary to attract and retain skilled pilots. For aspiring pilots seeking to join regional airlines, exploring flight school loans could be a prudent step toward acquiring the required training and qualifications in a challenging yet rewarding industry.
Do you have a strong passion for aviation and are you dreaming of pursuing a career as a pilot? Stratus Finance is here to support your aspirations through our flight school loans. Whether you are in the process of considering flight training or are already on your way, we provide adaptable financing solutions designed to meet your individual needs.