Pilot Shortage Outlook

Did you have any program like CPP that helped you move up that fast or just applied ots and got hired? Only 2 years would be awesome

If you leave early you have to repay $35k .


I had some really good connections. Some of those came through my father, but others came through people I met on my own.



The fact that you specify “in the US” makes me wonder if you are international? Only a few regional airlines are capable of supporting an E3 visa (specific to Australia). All other countries are unable to work for them. If this is not the case, then disregard!


Having not even started your training, loan or no loan, I’d be extremely hesitant to commit to any Regional for 5 years. 7.5yrs (2.5 before you get there) is a lifetime in this industry. All Regional flying is contingent on their relationships with the Majors they support. Regionals that were on top can find themselves on the bottom overnight and visa versa. While chances are you won’t advance as quickly as Chris again I wouldn’t want to be tied this early in the game.


Given that there are now several major/LCCs that have direct pathways from zero time or CFI, I’d say yes - times are changing. I’m not saying it’s commonly being utilized. But already the United program has dropped the requirement to be an intern to get into the program.

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Not going to debate. I keep hearing about these Major “pathways” (and have for a while) and “someone with a friend” or who “knows someone in the pipeline” but I’ve yet to see, meet or hear about anyone from a Major who got there directly from CFI? Until I do I won’t be “encouraging” or even mentioning this as a possibility.

I’m here to try and offer guidance for people as to a realistic career path. There are people who win MegaMillions every week but I wouldn’t suggest that as a retirement plan.


There isn’t much to debate - I agree the odds of being in this situation may be the same as a lotto ticket. But that ticket is free so why not apply?

The only reason you haven’t heard of many is because most of these programs only started at a point where we are just now seeing those people get to the actual major. I know several from the United program as well as in the jet blue that is more recent. And I also know details about yet another major starting an ab initio program this year.

Are the odds of getting into one likely? No. Is there a risk along with getting into a new program like that? Yes. Would I recommend it? Depends on the person and their situation. But I still wouldn’t go back and do my path any different, all of this being said. My only point was that there are more options than there used to be a quicker paths to majors than there used to be. ATP included.

Just to clarify, when I say “nothing to debate,” I meant as far as their existence. Not whether or not it’s a good choice.

Julian, I can only tell you things about the current situation at Republic, and as we all know that can change drastically in 6 months, much less 2.5 years. However, you have to make decisions now based on the best information you have available, so here goes:

Republic is a great place to work. If you have to get “stuck” at a regional for a while in order to help jump the financial hurdle of all the training costs, Republic isn’t a bad place to be. In fact, there are 500+ captains at Republic that have been there more than 10 years, and seem to be quite content with that vs. moving on to a major. While it’s true that you could possibly move on to a major in two years, that’s not happening very much currently, unless you have military experience. I’m expecting to be an FO for 2 years, then CA for 1-2 years before I’ll even have a shot at most major airline requirements. Now, if you’re interested in the low-cost outfits like JetBlue, Frontier, Allegiant, etc.(not Southwest), you might be able to do it in 2 years. But legacies won’t be interested until long after your 5 year commitment is up. Quick example - we had a few guys go to United in February, and the most junior of those had been at Republic for 11.5 years.

Having said all that, I personally think the majors are going to start feeling a little more “pain” from their upcoming retirements in the next few years, and they will be forced to start hiring pilots with a little less regional experience. I’m not counting on that, just an educated guess. My goal is to get to Southwest, which is where 19% of departing Republic pilots end up.

I will say this… If you end up having the opportunity to get to a major airline sooner than you were expecting, and you haven’t yet fulfilled your commitment to Republic by then, the pay at the majors would definitely make it worthwhile to break that commitment and pay whatever penalty is in place.

Hope this helps.

And one more quick thing I forgot to mention… If you do decide that you’d ultimately like to choose Republic, which in the opinion of most people is within the top 3 regional choices for various reasons, you’ll have a much easier time getting on board via LIFT vs. ATP. Not an insult to ATP, Republic is just planning on getting a whole lot of its pilots from LIFT. Kinda like American getting the bulk of its pilots through its wholly-owned regionals.

Interesting advice, but I can tell you that regionals will take pilots from wherever they can get them. There won’t be more preference to one vs another flight school. I did recruiting at the regionals and even in the last few years, the looming shortage is becoming extremely evident. And I disagree very much with your info about moving onto a major. I spent 3.5 years at SkyWest before getting on with Southwest. And while that is not common (for SWA), I have a TON of friends who were getting hired at Delta and United with 3 years or less at the regionals. But the latter part of what you said is true - you could buy it out if that’s the case. But I don’t see why anyone nowadays would lock themselves into anything.

As I am sure others will chime in, moving on to a major is NOT a guarantee. It is entirely dependent on specific backgrounds and experience. I’m not in any way saying people should count on moving on in such a short time (if at all), but it’s not uncommon either.


Maybe I wasn’t clear in what I meant about majors… probably should have said “legacies”. I hope to get to SWA in a similar time frame as you did. But I’m sure you’ll agree SWA is much more selective than the other LCC guys.

I’d love to hear more about your friends getting into a legacy in such a short time. I believe there would have to be something special on their resume (like military) for that to happen.

As far as LIFT vs. ATP… things are changing from when you were at a regional. Republic is full for all of 2019 right now, and with the great pay, planes, and work rules, I think it will continue to be a highly sought after regional. I predict LIFT will be the easiest (not only) way in.

Thank you Tim, that helps a lot. Republic has been one of my top regional choices since I’ve been researching, and though it’s scary to think of committing to one regional this early, like you said, Republic is one of the best ones and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. To me, I kind of view the contract in the same light as those AA flow-throughs as often times guys are locked in for 7-8 years as that has typically been the amount of time it takes to flow to American at their respective company. I appreciate everyone’s advice and insight.

I only left the regionals 6 months ago. And I did recruiting for SkyWest for the last few years and got to be close friends with recruiters at Republic and many other regionals as well. I’m aware that there is a backup on classes at many of them right now. But that isn’t quite the same as lack of jobs. The likelihood of getting the job doesn’t change. Just the demand of training not being able to keep up with the amount being hired.

As for my friends who moved on to the legacies - none of them were prior military.

Good luck with SWA! It’s a great place to work.

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