21 August, 2014
For aspiring aviators, there is no pilot shortage. : flying
For aspiring aviators, there is no pilot shortage. : flying: Any first-year Econ student could tell you that in this situation, with a shortage of qualified labor, one can expect wages to rise. And yet, here we have a peculiar example of an entire industry defying the laws of economics, for the very opposite is presently true: there is strong downward pressure on regional pilot wages. This is because the newly emboldened mega-legacies are treating their erstwhile regional partners much like Walmart treats its suppliers: smaller, vulnerable targets to be bullied into submission and forced to slash costs, even to their own detriment, because the alternative is annihilation. Regional management has grown increasingly desperate, having seen their peers unsuccessfully attempt branded flying (ACA, ExpressJet), merging with other carriers (Pinnacle, ASA), or diversifying their partnerships (Mesa, Republic) in an effort to survive the storm. They are now willing to slash costs no matter the consequence, even if it eventually robs them of pilots to fly the airplanes, so long as it lets them live to fight another day. To do this, they are preying on their pilots’ insecurities about their careers, forged in the turmoil of the post-9/11 era and not yet attuned to the opportunities of a labor shortage.