< Reveal sidebar

ALPA, Industry Say Pilot Supply Is Stable

According to FAA pilot-production data, the U.S. is consistently certifying a greater number of airline pilots on a monthly basis compared to pre-pandemic levels, the pilot union said.

Pilot executing pre-flight procedures in a commercial airliner cockpit before takeoff. (Photo: Shutterstock)

A new release from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) notes that the U.S. pilot supply is stable with more than 11,000 pilots certified in the past 12 months.

ALPA highlighted recently released FAA pilot-production data, indicating that the U.S. is consistently certifying a greater number of airline pilots on a monthly basis compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The news comes as industry experts and financial analysts agree that pilot demand has been met, and there is even a surplus of pilots as several airlines have scaled back hiring.

Executives at TD Cowen and Goldman Sachs have expressed optimism, indicating the industry is moving past its previous challenges. “The improved outlook vs. the introduction of the GS Pilot Supply & Demand model in December 2022 is primarily driven by higher-than-expected certificates issued (2022 and 2023 were both records) in addition to slower fleet growth and modestly lower-than-expected retirements,” according to Goldman Sachs.

Several regional airlines have noticed a shift in the environment with decreased attrition rates. Mesa Airlines CEO Jonathan Ornstein said, “There was a time when none of us could find first officers. Now I mean, I think we have close to 2,000 applicants for qualified first officers.”

CommuteAir CEO Rick Hoefling echoed that statement to AirlineGeeks in October. “We can hire first officers. I think almost every regional airline right now has a stack of first officers. The problem is building their time at the same time you’re attriting out captains at a pretty high rate in the industry. We went from a pilot shortage to a captain shortage now in the industry. So the pendulum is starting to move.”

Despite ongoing claims of a pilot shortage by special interest groups, ALPA maintains that while there were some initial backlogs post-COVID, the system is working and yielding a record number of pilots.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on AVweb.

AirlineGeeks.com Staff


  • Amelia Walsh

    Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.

Subscribe to AirlineGeeks' Daily Check-In

Receive a daily dose of the airline industry's top stories along with market insights right in your inbox.

Related Stories

Large Majority Of Encore Pilots Vote To Strike

There are dark clouds on the horizon for WestJet Encore, the fully-owned regional subsidiary of the WestJet Group, the second-largest…

FedEx Pilots Seek Release From Federally Mediated Contract Talks

The union representing some 5,800 pilots at FedEx Express has asked the National Mediation Board to be officially released from…

Spirit, JetBlue Pilots Plan to Negotiate New Contracts After Failed Merger

Spirit and JetBlue pilots on Monday announced plans to negotiate union contracts after the airlines ended their proposed $3.8 billion…