Air Transport Pilot Supply and Demand

Current State and Effects of Recent Legislation

by Michael McGee

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Many airline industry experts have recently predicted crippling shortages in the supply of Airline Transport Pilots. The main reasons for concern in the United States over pilot shortages arises from recent legislation stemming from the 2009 Colgan air crash, an impending wave of mandatory retirements, a decreasing supply of new professional pilots into the pipeline, and major airline expansion. This study provides a comprehensive Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) supply and demand model and then assesses the current and future ATP supply and demand pipeline, to include the impact on the U.S. military pilot population. Subsequently, it evaluates policy options available to government, industry, and the military to mitigate any potential shortfalls in the future supply chain. This study finds there will not be a civilian system-wide pilot shortage in the near-term, though the system will become strained. Low-paying airlines will continue to have difficulties finding qualified pilots. All operators will experience fewer applicants for the available positions, potentially resulting in less qualified pilots system-wide. Barring any policy changes, the military will experience an inventory shortage in the near-term.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Literature Review

  • Chapter Three

    Pilot Demand

  • Chapter Four

    Pilot Supply

  • Chapter Five

    Supply/Demand Interaction and Near-Term Expectations

  • Chapter Six

    Policy Implications

  • Chapter Seven

    Policy Recommendations

  • Chapter Eight

    Issues for Further Consideration

  • Appendix A

    Mathematical Models for Supply and Demand

  • Appendix B

    US Operations Categorization

  • Appendix C

    ARP/ACP History

  • Appendix D

    Regional Airline Contract Negotiation Example

  • Appendix E

    Regressions

  • Appendix F

    MPL Training Scheme

  • Appendix G

    Pay Comparisons

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in March 2015 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Dr. Al Robbert (Chair), Dr. Ray Conley, and Dr. Suzanne Buono.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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