One Possible, Practical, Repeatable Response to the Regional Airline Pilot Problem

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ARTICLE:LETU partners with Skywest for pilot cadet program


There appears to have been more debate than progress on the matter of the pilot shortage. The above linked story shows some smart movement by Skywest and LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas.

That learning institution has 240 enrolled students. As the Provost of that college aptly summarized the situation:

We can now give students a great return on their investment by partnering with SkyWest to offer a clear pathway to the commercial airline industry. This program will open up great opportunities for both students and SkyWest.”

The announcement also mentioned that a similar relationship with American Eagle (now Envoy) has been contracted seven months ago.

The teaching will benefit from the faculty’s experience including a retired SkyWest pilot, Brad Wooden, who was confident that the curriculum would facilitate the students’ movement from the classroom to the cockpit. An existing student, Jovita Perez-Segovia, said “I think the program will help a lot by getting advice from people in the industry so I can get through any challenges I might come across in my career,”

Even more encouraging was the following comment:

“SkyWest’s Wes Horrocks said LeTourneau’s graduates already are a known quantity for the airline. ‘We have had so many great pilots come to Skywest from the LETU aviation program, and now by partnering with the school, we will have more involvement as far as mentoring the students while in the program then guaranteeing them an interview with Skywest upon graduation, ”’he said. SkyWest Capt. Ben Lowe said LeTourneau grads are ‘topnotch.’”

Another similar airline initiative was develop by Delta and its regional carrier Endeavor. It involves a commitment by Delta that the pilots being hired to fly the smaller equipment may move up to the mainline aircraft. The new Endeavor-to-Delta Pilot Hiring and Commitment Program (EtD Commitment) applies to all new-hire Endeavor pilots through a single recruitment interview.

That’s great news and more importantly, this response to the pilot problem involves basic, simple actions that are recreatable across the country.

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