Pilot shortage and future forced retirement numbers

I was doing some research on pilot shortages coming to the airlines over the next 10 years. Came across airline pilot centrals site that will show you the number of pilots that are set to retire. Is it safe to say these numbers are roughly the same across the board (I was looking at delta’s)? Meaning are the age of pilots across most major airlines roughly the same? The numbers of pilots to be retiring over the next 5-7 years seems high, assuming they are captains and then more FO become captains opening up FO at the majors. Obviously a good thing for someone starting flight school now.

Do most pilots fly until they are 65? As you get more seniority do they require you fly so many hours a month? For instance could a senior captain for his last 5 years just go part time almost(under 75 hours).

Are most contracts with regionals one year? Assuming you took the tuition reimbursement. And I thought I read somewhere about a FAA default? Something where you change airlines to soon like under 90 days or something? Can you explain this? Unless this doesn’t exsist then ignore this question.

Looking to start at Raleigh come March and really appreciate you guys taking the time out of your day to help us out, I’ve learned an incredible amount of just simple questions from here.


The numbers are not the same at the various majors. Each airline has gone through growth spurts at different times, which manifest into en masse retirements happening at different times. Off the top of my head I believe that American is one of the oldest pilot groups, meaning that they will have large numbers of retirements soon. Delta, on the other hand, is a rather young pilot group, as is United. Now that being said, all of the legacy major airlines are currently seeing significant numbers of retirements each year.

Most pilots fly until 65 as the money is just too good to turn down. While some of the more senior pilots might fly a bit less hours, being a pilot is a full time job, there are no part-time positions.

To my knowledge all of the Tuition Reimbursement contracts are one year in duration. I am not sure of an FAA default, but I can tell you that changing airlines in under 90 days is not going to look good at all on a resume. If you do change airlines so soon, you better have a darn good reason for doing it.

Thanks for the positive feedback, it is nice to know that we are helping people out :slight_smile:


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