Mid 20's and after covid

Hi, I have some questions on the aviation industry after covid.

From what I know that after covid and after the recover, there will be more pilots retiring and having forced early retirements due to covid than ever. While I am still on the research stage, I am 19, graduating with bachelors degree with business finance at fall 2023(I am 22 by then), I still have some time before applying to atp flight school. Will regional airlines hire 24-25 year old pilots( estimated my age by the time if I finish the 1500 hr rule) since the pilot shortage is getting higher by then and a lot of boomers are retiring by then?

Expected there are no further issues for the next decade and airlines back to normal, how fast would you get from regional to major and if I have reached the major’s minimum requirements? While I understand just meeting the requirements is just eligible to transfer to the majors, how long will it take usually as a open position for a transfer?

And will there be any problem if I’m asian going to US airlines, I’m planning to go to united after regional? I am a US citizen.

Hi Brandon and welcome,

Your assessment is correct. Things seem to already be recovering and baring any new worldwide catastrophe we should be back to normal in short order.

As to your first question sure the Regionals will hire you at 24-25 (why wouldn’t they?). If you think about it that actually is the ideal age. Most pilots earn their Bachelor’s degree, go to flight school, then build their hours. The process will usually take 2+ years so that’s actually the age many pilots will be ready to go.

Your second question is harder to answer. Pre-covid the average time frame from Regional to Major was probably around 5-7yrs. That said you need to know there are no guarantees. Even with the shortage many pilots took considerably longer and some never get the call. Checkride busts, a DUI, being a bad employee at your Regional or simply having a bad interview could all impact your future in the industry. While you should be fine you should always strive to be a professional.

Finally while I understand there have been some very disturbing attacks upon Asians recently, all the airlines strive to be unbiased and inclusive and I personally have never seen any discrimination of any kind during my career. I fly for Hawaiian and we actually have a very significant number of Asian pilots.


Hi Adam,

Thank you for replying fast as always and again thank you for the information, as for now I will continue on my education and get my Bachelors degree. I currently have no DUI, I don’t have any issues with violating the rules, and no speeding tickets. I don’t do drugs nor drink. I actually have one more question, does the airlines look at the GPA in college, currently I have a 3.2-3.3 in college for now, would it help with the chance of being hired at regionals?

Your speculations are shared here. We anticipate when things get back to “normal” the shortage will be worse than before. However, no one owns a crystal ball. So far you’re on the right track, finish your degree and then seek out atp soon after.
Your age will not be an issue by the time you earn your ratings and your 1500 hours. At 21 you can have a restricted ATP and your ATP at 23. Other than that, there are hundreds of pilots at regionals at the age of 24-25. As for your race, not an issue either as long as you are a US citizen. It may even help you as you are a part of a minority group. For the timeline for regionals to majors, that’s something we can only guess about. Pre-covid depending on the regional you chose 4-6 years on average at a regional before you get to a major. At least 2 years as an FO and 2 at least 2 years as captain but it’s all dependent on the movement within the company at the time. If FOs aren’t upgrading to captain, then you won’t move closer either. If majors aren’t pulling from the regionals, you’ll be staying at the regionals as captain just waiting it out.


oh ok, I see thank you for the information


Good grades are important as an overall reflection of your work ethic, however, the airlines will not specifically make notice of your GPA one way or the other. Do your best and get your degree. That’s what matters



I’m going to disagree slightly with my colleague here as I have seen airlines to list a “minimum GPA” in their preferred/competitive requirements.

Better is always better.


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By the time you are eligible to be hired by the airlines, I do not see any issues with you being hired at 24-25, assuming that you meet all the criteria and keep your record clean.

Time to the majors is very difficult to estimate, some people do it in two years, some ten, and others never make it. There are just so many variables at play that it is really hard to put a number on it.

There are zero problems with being Asian, or any other race/gender/etc. The airlines, like most companies, are really striving to increase their diversity. I would say that you might want to rethink “planning on going to United”. United is a great place to work and is one of the top airlines to work for, you cannot plan on going there, you can aspire to go there and work towards it, but there are no guarantees as the position is highly sought after.

As for your GPA, no, it will not do anything to help you. Quite frankly I have seen a lot higher GPAs that that. Now your GPA probably will not hurt you either, but it certainly is not a stand out score.


Oh Ok, I see thank you