To be specific, some airlines are blaming the flight cancellations and delays at the nation’s airports this summer on a pilot shortage that they say stems from the most controversial provision of that 2010 aviation safety law: a measure that requires pilots to have 1,500 hours of experience before they can fly a passenger plane. Meanwhile, some smaller airlines are seeking ways to skirt the so-called 1,500 hour rule.
But to hear William J. McGee tell it, the pilot shortage is much more complicated than that rule. Senior fellow for aviation and travel at the American Economic Liberties Project and previously aviation advisor for advocacy at Consumer Reports, McGee said the airlines, not the safety regulations, are largely to blame for the pilot shortage. He said they never adapted to the 1,500 rule and cut staff during the pandemic.
“Shame on anyone in the industry who would try to use this crisis – a crisis that is literally the airline’s own making – to weaken those standards,” McGee said.