According to an airline pilot who is also a union representative, the process of returning pilots on leave can take 15 months due to the industry’s extensive and complicated training system.
American Airlineswhere Tajer is a pilot, and United start to vacation more than 32,000 workers in the absence of additional coronavirus relief from Washington. Of the 19,000 employees, American is said to be on vacation around 1,600 will be pilots.
“It takes months and months for these pilots to get high and flying again, and the public is ready to fly when it’s safe to fly,” said Tajer, spokesman for the APA, which represents American Airlines Pilots.
Carriers have stood up for lawmakers and the White House another $ 25 billion in support of assistance in addition to assistance provided under the $ 2.2 trillion package approved in March. There is bipartisan support Extending aid to airlines due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first grants and loans from the federal government prevented the airlines from shedding jobs until September 30.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and finance minister Steven Mnuchin pledged to continue discussions after no consensus was reached on Wednesday. The House Democrats originally intended to pass their newly scaled-down $ 2.2 trillion bailout Wednesday night, but they did her vote canceled until at least Thursday to have more time for bipartisan talks.
Both American and United said they would reverse course on vacation if lawmakers and the Trump administration reached an agreement on a new aid package that includes more airline payroll support.
Pilots speak while looking at the tail of an American Airlines aircraft.
Mike Stone | Reuters
Tajer said it could take around 12 to 15 months for a plane to be “occupied” because the pilots need training and the vacation structure is typical. He said the pilots with the least experience are likely to be the ones on leave first.
“The pilots are assigned to an aircraft and a seating position. When we go on vacation, we take a vacation from below, so all of our Junior First Officers – mostly in a confined space [body aircraft] – will be removed, “said Tajer.” This creates a trickle of training that must take place in order to maintain a system, even a severely reduced system. ”
He said pilots who have to go into training to learn to fly various aircraft will then not be available to complete planned routes. Additionally, there can be a lag in the training system because “there are only so many simulators and so many instructors doing it,” he said.
Then, if airlines do remember vacation pilots, additional training will need to be held as flight schedules expand, Tajer said.
The lag time is why financial assistance is important to help airlines keep pilots on board, he said. “If things continue, we can get started right away and continue our business.”
“We’re a vaccine industry. We’re a vaccine country right now,” added Tajer. “We have to extend this bridge over the turbulent river or we will go into the middle of the river and the effects will be long-term. It will affect much more than the aviation industry.”