Pilot shortage and airline opportunities


I’m 25 years old and I have my intro flight this coming Thursday, so I’m just at the beginning of everything. I’m very excited about this opportunity! I have been doing as much research as possible regarding the short, mid and long term of becoming a pilot. I have 2 separate questions

  1. How long do you believe this huge pilot shortage will last? I have seen some data that suggests over the next 20 years, 2024-2026 will see the largest retirement of pilots, thus the largest shortage. I wonder if that’s completely accurate? And I assume that could benefit people like me just beginning training now?

  2. I imagine interviewing for airlines is just like any other industry. The larger airlines (AA, Delta, United) are more competitive when it comes to interviewing with them? Or are smaller airlines like Frontier just as competitive? How do you separate yourself?

Like I said, I’m very early on and have a lot of studying to do before applying to airlines but I’m so excited about beginning this career and want to map it out as best I can



As you say you’ve got quite a bit of time before you need to think about airlines and things can and do change. That said here’s my take:

  1. No one has a crystal ball. The shortage was in full swing and out of nowhere came this little virus thing you may have heard about and in a few months we went from everyone getting hired to people getting furloughed and even a couple of Regionals shutting down. The must common predictions I’ve heard have been for the shortage to continue to at least to 2030. While that’s great news and makes this a good time to start, again things can and do happen. Most importantly good pilots got hired long before there was any shortage and bad ones will always struggle.

  2. The big Legacy carriers pay the most, fly the most places and have the newest, shiniest airplanes. People grew up dreaming of flying for the Big 3 so yes they get the most applications so yes the competition is stiffer and yes those jobs are harder to get. Pilot shortage or not theyre not hurting for applicants and can be alot pickier than smaller LCCs like Frontier, Spirit and JetBlue. Thing is all airlines really look for the same things, experienced well trained pilots with clean records and degrees and most people who can check all those boxes will at least get an interview. What makes you stand out or not is you. There are again alot of pilots who meet the requirements which is why the interview is the most important part. Resumes are great but I’ve been on hiring boards at 2 airlines and I can tell you your resume won’t get you the job. What will is being the kind of person the people interviewing you will think that’s someone I’d want to fly with vs how the heck did this jerk get hired?



According to the data on airlinepilotcentral.com, it looks like the mandatory retirements at most of the legacy airlines peak around 2030 and slowly taper off. With that, I think that it is safe to say that the shortage will last for a minimum of 10 more years.

When it comes to getting hired at a major, some things that airlines look for is a genuine loyalty to the airline, a passion for the job, and community service can sometimes help. Aside from that, I would also recommend any of the interview prep services. They’re worth every penny.


Thank you Adam and Tory! I really appreciate the information and advice, as it helps every bit. I’m really looking forward to starting at ATP!

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