Hello everyone I have a question for regional and major airline pilots. is it a requirement to be a regional pilot before flying at a major airline? Or can I get my hours as a CFIl to met the requirements for a major airline?
If you had asked me that question last year (or any time before that) my answer would’ve been 100% you must go to a Regional first. BUT, the current pilot shortage has turned the industry in its ear and ATP recently announced their Direct Entry programs with Spirit, Frontier, Sun Country and Avelo (all of which are Majors). This is unheard-of and very exciting news.
Keep in mind these programs are competitive and require you to be very strong in training.
Thank you Adam!
To go to one of the legacy majors (Delta, American, United, etc) you will need to go to a regional first, probably for several years. ATP does have direct programs to several of the newer major airlines, check out this link for more info:
You could also fly for a part 135 Charter carrier and eventually get on with a legacy. However, the cost for skipping the regionals comes with needing a lot more hours. Typically a part 135 pilot needs nearly twice as many hours as a regional pilot with 121 time.
Best just to bite the bullet… besides, majors want to see you can operate in a 121 environment successfully.
Thank you Hanna!
Thank you Chris! I will check it out!
No problem. Let us know how else we can help you.
I have a last question, do airlines tell you what bases they are hiring for in the interview process or they leave it until they start training?
It’s up to you to do your research and no who’s got bases where. But yes, during the interview process they will tell you which bases and aircraft they’re hiring onto but there are zero guarantees. In most cases you won’t know until you start training.
While I understand this is very important to you, if you’re seriously considering this as a career things can and do change. There have been airlines that have had bases for decades and decide to close or shrink it for whatever reason. It’s something you won’t have any control over but it’s a reality of the job.
Thank you Adam!
The bases that are operated by that airline are very clear, just takes some research. However, the bases available right out of training fluctuate per class. One class could have the opportunity to grab 3 spots in X base, while the class behind does not.
It’s good to come in with a plan, and then have backups in case you don’t get what you want right away.
Here is a map that shows all of the pilot domiciles in the US.
This is not entirely accurate. Multiple people in my new hire class last July (including myself) for a ULCC were 135 pilots with anywhere from 1,500-2,000 total time. Several of them have already been interviewed by a major and received a CJO with 2,000 or less total time.
That statement was specific to the legacy carriers only. If you look on the aviation interviews website for those with CJOs and their hours, it’s very apparent the stark difference between 121 candidates and 135 candidates.