FAA rejects proposal to cut pilots' flight time requirement in half amid shortage

FAA rejects proposal to cut pilots’ flight time requirement in half amid shortage

A Republic Airways plane approaches the tarmac at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, on April 2, 2022.

Daniel Delgado | AFP | fake images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it has rejected a proposal to halve the number of hours required to become a co-pilot as a dire shortage of airmen leads carriers to cut routes.

Republic Airways, which flies short routes for Delta, American and United, proposed to regulators in April that pilots be allowed to join an airline after 750 flight hours once they’ve completed the airline’s training program.

Typically, 1,500 hours of flight time is required before a new pilot can fly commercially, although there is an exception for certain military experience that cuts the requirement in half.

The so-called 1,500-hour rule was passed after the fatal Colgan Air accident in February 2009 near Buffalo, New York. The accident also created new requirements for a minimum rest period for pilots before a flight.

“The FAA believes it is in the best public interest to ensure and maintain the level of safety provided by the foundation for integrated aviation education required by” current criteria, the agency said in its decision, which was released a day before a region meeting. airline conference in Washington, DC

The FAA’s decision comes as airlines grapple with a dire pilot shortage, which executives have blamed on cuts in service, particularly in small cities.

Republic Airways did not immediately comment.

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