CHICAGO (NewsNation) — Staffing shortages and severe weather conditions have received the bulk of the blame for airlines cancellations, as 2022 has already seen more flights rescheduled than all of 2021.
Just this past July Fourth weekend, in fact, FlightAware reported that more than 2,200 U.S. flights had been delayed and more than 200 canceled — on the East Coast alone.
In a sharp statement sent to NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Wednesday, however, one pilots union claims staffing shortages aren’t actually an issue. The real problem, the union says, i airline mismanagement. The union even went as far as saying the pilot shortage is “made up.”
“What we are currently experiencing is a failure by the airlines to adequately plan for the increased travel demand,” the Airline Pilots Association wrote. “This is not a labor-created problem; it’s an airline mismanagement issue … The false narrative about pilot supply is being used to lobby dangerous changes to aviation safety standards,” the statement went on to say.
Help is on the way, eventually. Some flight schools in the U.S. are seeing an uptick in registration. Such was confirmed by Justin Hein — a pilot and manager of Aamro Aviation’s flight training school in west Palm Beach, Florida.
“Currently right now, the enrollment has increased significantly,” Hein told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Wednesday. “With this pilot shortage, we are seeing, instead of 30-40 students here, maybe 50-60, so it’s increased significantly,” he continued.
And the increase in interest — Hein says — is from people looking to fly professionally, instead of just as a hobby.
“I’d say 75% of our students want to do this professionally. One of our instructors went to Republic recently, another one went to Frontier, and now he’s at Delta. So they’re kind of all making their way up the food chain,” Hein said.
But of course, that training process isn’t quick, as it can take months to become certified. So even though there is a lot of interest now, that doesn’t mean those interested pilots can be in the air really any time soon.
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby is on record saying earlier this year that the pilot shortage is real. NewsNation has not heard back from any of the major airlines for a comment on the statement from the pilot’s union.