Do You Think Airlines Will Ever Pay For Training?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Jason Koiter, Mar 30, 2022.

  1. Jason Koiter

    Jason Koiter Filing Flight Plan

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    Just a question for the room, for those who have watched the airline industry much longer and more closely than I...

    I was discussing the looming pilot shortage with my Mom. She saw on the news that in five years the airline industry could be short over 50,000 pilots. It raised the question: could the shortage ever get so bad that airlines would start paying for pilot training? Or, developing their own training programs/divisions to entice future pilots who may not be able to afford the $88K price tag to get their ATP certificate?
     
  2. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Ask her if she really trusts the news’ accuracy that much.

    They weren’t right about today’s forecast.
     
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  3. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    But then, would we have a CFI shortage?
     
  4. Justin Brady

    Justin Brady Filing Flight Plan

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    Honestly I've never quite understood why they don't.
    Similar to military paying for college, you sign up for so many years and they foot the bill.

    I suppose you could have a lot of students quit which would be expensive, but they'd just need a clause that says you'll repay your debt should you fail to qualify or don't want to continue.

    They would get to train as they see fit which would likely end up with better pilots vs ATPs who just sat in the right seat of a 150 for 1500 hours.
     
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  5. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    A lot of them already have tuition reimbursement programs.
     
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  6. Jason Koiter

    Jason Koiter Filing Flight Plan

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    When I was writing this post I accidentally closed the window and lost it all. In my original writing, I mentioned that I hadn't verified any numbers she quoted, as I'm always a skeptic...plus, any numbers for five years in the future is conjecture, or arbitrary at best. Only time will tell.

    That said, it makes me wonder if airlines would ever come up with a system of their own to train pilots if the need became severe enough...
     
  7. Jason Koiter

    Jason Koiter Filing Flight Plan

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    I have seen that, but it's usually just a fraction of the cost, correct? ATP school is 88K plus about 10K in additional costs, and the Horizon Air program only pays $12,500...
     
  8. Jason Koiter

    Jason Koiter Filing Flight Plan

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    Exactly. That could be one way to do it..
     
  9. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    What happens if they pay for 0 to hero and at say 1000 hours the candidate burns out or washes out?

    Why would they foot the bill for that when they don't have to?

    If there truly is a shortage ahead, there's plently of commercial rated pilots with enough time who would jump to the airlines if they paid enough. I would. Just not taking a MASSIVE pay cut while I slog it out in the regionals
     
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  10. martym

    martym Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Because you're a worthless bag of meat to an airline until you can hold some kind of ATP certificate.
     
  11. Lindberg

    Lindberg Final Approach

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    Some do provide scholarships for desired candidates.
     
  12. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Some also run their own puppy mills—-errr pilot schools. They dock your tuition against future pay and if you wash out, you own them for the training.
     
  13. Tools

    Tools Line Up and Wait

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    Oh, there’s lots of options.

    The current system is the way it is for a reason. They want compulsive people. They do what they’re told. They’re managing to make a killing by taking advantage of that. MUCH cheaper to increase pay and keep upping the productivity till something breaks.

    It ain’t broke yet... so why worry? The airlines own the FAA. When it becomes necessary, a few rules will change over night to fix the problem. Going from 60 to 65 happened in the blink of an eye...

    Go single pilot, that “shortage” just cut in half... Double the size of commuter aircraft... no shortage. There’s lots of bandages to buy before addressing the problem. Average life of a CEO? Four to five years? So how far down the road are they looking? Two?

    I saw delta go from plans for an ALL Boeing fleet to tripling the number of tiny rj’s that were CRJ, to Airbus in a period of like 5 years... They hire until they furlough, been doing that for 50 years...

    The REAL management of these companies is SHORT SIGHTED. Probably most big companies.. I dunno. Rest assured they don’t have a master plan you can bank on.

    Your best bet is to simply get ALL the best experience you can, apply EVERYWHERE, and don’t be afraid to be happy. They’re ALL the same, don’t try to game the system too much.

    “Oh, they want this...”, well today maybe.

    So will they? If they need to. I think that’s further off as a norm than other easier cheaper options.
     
  14. pfarber

    pfarber Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They legacy's need the regional grinder to fill in the short routes that are unprofitable if they have to have a legacy pilot paid to fly it.

    If the regionals had to pay market rates the less than 2 hour flights would be gone as there is no money in them.

    If the shortage was real/unmanageable they would address it. Right now its mire of an investors issue than anything.
     
  15. Lindberg

    Lindberg Final Approach

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    What are "market rates"?
     
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  16. martym

    martym Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ah, so that explains why I once flew a regional plane from Montreal to Atlanta (~1100 miles) to Eluthera (~750 miles) to Atlanta (~750 miles) then got on a mainline A321 to DH to Birmingham (~140 miles), lol.

    Oh don't worry. It's real and they are trying to address it. It's almost comical. When a regional is willing to hand over a $110k bonus to a pilot to not quit for 2 yrs, it's serious. For someone maxed on the pay scale that's over $370k for 2 yrs. Damn poverty wages at those regionals.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2022
  17. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    Part of the problem is the ~1,250 hr aeronautical experience gap between a commercial ticket and ATP mins. Why should SWA pay for somebody to get to commercial mins who then goes out to earn revenue for somebody else, then maybe comes back to SWA for payback.

    I guess that model works for some Euro/Asian airlines who have an entirely different regulatory scheme that allows a company to own someone for the duration of their career in an industry and if the payback doesn’t work out, allows recoupment of costs to the company for training provided.
     
  18. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Which is why I should have become a meteorologist.

    They get to be completely wrong and still keep their jobs.
     
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  19. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    While that isn't the norm for airlines here.... that is what some foreign carriers do.

    Pre-COVID, US Aviation Academy here at KDTO had a big contract with the Chinese government to train their young ones to be pilots. Run them all the way from primary to Turbine within about 12 months.

    It was my understanding that on return to home, the newly created pilot had to spend a certain number of years flying for the government owned flag carrier until the debt was paid back. If they washed out, they still had to work for the carrier, but not in a pilot capacity.
     
  20. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    As a retired military guy, how you may think that works probably isn’t how it really works in any of the active/guard/reserve scenarios.
     
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  21. sarangan

    sarangan Pattern Altitude

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    Airlines are a business. They are not going to give away anything without a plan to recover the cost. That will come via lower pilot salaries, or higher fares.

    Military can do that because it is a government operation. Some countries also have ab initio airline training because they are essentially a government operation. But a private business doing that will not come without a cost.

    I find it hard to believe that someone with professional aspirations can't come up with $88k to invest in their future. I know many people who say that, but they are driving a $40k SUV, and living in $1M homes.

    The real solution, IMHO, is to accelerate the technology and cockpit automation so that airlines can fly with a single pilot. That will automatically create an extra 300,000 pilots in the U.S.
     
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  22. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    -do hospitals pay for your undergraduate and medical school?
    -do law firms pay you to go college and then earn a JD?
    -does XYZ engineering firm pay for your college tuition to attend college and earn your degree?

    The issue is that most flying jobs simply aren't paying enough to motivate people to pursue that career, or not providing enough overall benefits in other perks. I love flying, hopefully there's a Tantalum in another reality who pursued that career and is happy. For me, personally in this life with his current lot, the cost benefit simply isn't there, and looking at the 'shortage of pilots' I take it that it's true for others too


    The other element to keep in mind is aviation really came into being after WW2, pilots were everywhere (thanks military!) and planes were plentiful. This is a bit of a 'new' phenomenon where people are fitting the bill themselves to get their license. If I could do my life over again one of three paths I may have taken would have been a few years in the air force and then go for an airline job from there. Either that or give up on the passion altogether and become an engineer of some sort #regrets


    https://atpflightschool.com/become-a-pilot/airline-career/regional-airline-pilot-pay.html
    ..this is hardly motivational, you barely have to graduate highschool to make this kind of money. Nevermind saddling up with college and flight school debt. It's a joke. Per ATP it will cost almost $90K to start from nothing. That's offensive, and then go to make half that, not be home, and have your career constantly at risk (industry, medical, furloughs, economic, etc.). The only realistic way to do this is to have rich parents who pay for it and go to the Air Force. Sorry
    upload_2022-3-31_11-15-47.png
     
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  23. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    The car and the home are just a monthly payment for them who's benefits they get to immediately enjoy. That $88K investment requires work, time, determination. I don't disagree with you. Just saying that giving someone a new Tahoe and telling them 'this is yours for just $700/mo' is easier than requiring a serious intellectual commitment for most people.
     
  24. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Guess I should give my parents the good news about their financial situation!

    FWIW, my wife's medical school cost 4.5X that figure you quoted from ATP, and she's spending 5 years making less money than most of those first year rates in the chart you posted. Averaged over 5 years the regional pilot will come out far, far ahead. Yes her job is less cyclical, and she'll earn more money over the course of her career (hopefully!), but from the perspective of throwing down a bunch of money up front just to make not a lot of money in the early years of the career isn't specific to aviation.
     
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  25. Rich Holt

    Rich Holt Line Up and Wait

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    The group that will suffer from this perceived pilot shortage (however real) is the military. It has always been that way. ACIP does not even come close to competing with the Majors. When the FAA lowered the hour requirement for military pilots to get an ATP, the DOD lost their collective minds. When the P-8 looked close enough to a 738 to count for a Type, the DOD lobbies went to work to find enough of a difference to disqualify the P-8 pilots from counting their 738 time.

    Why would an airline, especially a regional, pay for pilot training when the government will do that for you. I wouldn't.
     
  26. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you want to make big bucks without a big investment, become a lineman with the power company.
     
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  27. sarangan

    sarangan Pattern Altitude

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    Stability and mobility are bigger factors than salary. I am not saying an ATP has great stability, but it is more stable than a high school diploma. I make the same argument for engineering students to do graduate studies. A MS or PhD may not get you more money, but it will get you greater stability and flexibility.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2022
  28. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    All careers are like that in regards to upfront costs. Some are just worse than others. Flying is by no means the worst out there and ATP is not the only or most economical means to a flying job. I spent less than 40k to get into the industry.

    The real problem with aviation is how it cycles. Catch the cycle on a good swing and it’s amazing. Catch it on the other side and it awful. It’s also not stable. I’m currently at airline number five and airlines only account for about 50% of my years in the industry. Lots of other great adventures in there as well. Pay is all over as well. So far my income has been as low as 14k and as much as 315k. There are many obstacles to having a successful career but your criticism is kinda miss placed. Nothing special about aviation when it comes to cost barriers to entry and initial wages.
     
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  29. RyanB

    RyanB Super Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I applied for the Cadet program with PSA Airlines, it’s not a bad deal, but of course doesn’t come without pro’s and con’s.

    I feel like it’s the same for any job or acquired skill set— it takes money to make money. I don’t see a huge difference between someone who pays tens of thousands for a college degree, only to make a fraction of their investment when they get out of school. I tried to pick a degree that would be somewhat promising if things go south in my flying career, but hopefully it won’t ever come to that.

    If ratings are earned from a local part 61 flight school, it can be done for about the same if not less than the average four-year university program, so I don’t think it’s entirely out of the ball park. Start small, climb the ladder, the same with most every career field.
     
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  30. GaryM

    GaryM Pattern Altitude

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    You also don't risk losing the home and car because you have a medical condition pop up.
     
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  31. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    this is true, and I'm a little jaded on this topic. But at this point it's just a move I could not make without a windfall unfortunately or seriously changing my lifestyle for a few years. So I'll sit on the sidelines and complain haha. PS, I swear the guy flying us back from Phoenix to SAN last night on SWA handflew the whole way. The take off was remarkably smooth with a long gentle rotation and the general feel of our turns, climbs, descents, felt more flowy than what feels like the mechanically calculated maneuvers of most flights I'm on. It was a nice night, can't blame him. I'd handfly as much as I could too.

    ..another thing I struggle with. Granted the CTO at a company I work with didn't go to college but was one of these gifted coders, sold his first program to a credit union when he was 14

    It's the 14Ks that scare me! Thanks for the insight. And I agree, ATP is not the only option. I spent years slowly working through ratings and building hours. I have time now that in theory I could more realistically transition to flying professionally.. (1,500 is the current rule now, right?) but it's those 14Ks that scare me and the lack of a comparable fall back. Fate is the Hunter also made me scared of the whole 'numbers' and seniority portion of it.. it's a different industry that's for sure. A coder can leave Apple and go somewhere else and keep their total comp relatively constant. The impression I get is that if you leave SWA (for example) after 15 years you're starting back at square one
     
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  32. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    To be honest 14k years were early and haven’t been repeated in a while. I don’t expect that to happen again. I’m at a point now that even if I’m starting over it’s six figures
     
  33. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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  34. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Interesting, thanks
     
  35. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Pretty much every airline has a pathway program now. You can also get some grants and scholarships. It’s a high risk, high reward career. If you time it right, you’ll have a stellar career.
     
  36. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    They won't ever unless they absolutely have to, and they'll never have to. Too many idiots willing to bankrupt themselves to achieve their 'dreams of flight" or what the hell ever. Besides, anyone worth their salt knows that tomorrow the economy could go south and the Airline business tank. They can furlough all those folks they didn't train. When they're raining them they lose money when they furlough the guys.
     
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  37. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    I think if airlines managed the training process, they could get it done cheaper than the $90k that ab initio places today charge. That said, getting to the required time necessary to qualify for an ATP will still present a challenge, so I don't expect this to change until the airlines are able reel back the ATP changes put in place from the 2009 Colgan accident.

    Also consider that if the airlines offer such programs, there will likely be a heavy emphasis diversifying the candidate pipeline if they're footing the bill.
     
  38. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Not unless a whole lot of people that believe driving a flying bus is a dream job changes.
     
  39. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    One does and they are…
     
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  40. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Yeah, I think we've talked about this before and are on the same page. The equation is certainly different depending on where you are in life and your specific circumstances. As @Tarheelpilot said the career is heavily dependent on timing, and the penalty for mistiming the industry is a lot lower when you're a kid with few responsibilities and coming from an entry-ish level job to begin with. The stakes are quite a bit higher for you, and I don't think I'd make the jump either.
     
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