A Republic Airways plane approaches the runway at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, on April 2, 2022.
Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images
The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it rejected a proposal to cut in half the number of hours it takes to become a co-pilot, as an acute shortage of aviators is forcing carriers to cut routes.
Republic Airways, which flies short-haul routes for Delta, American and United, proposed to regulators in April that pilots could join an airline after 750 hours of flight time after completing the carrier’s training program.
Normally, 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 adopted after the fatal February 2009 Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, New York. The crash also led to new requirements for a minimum rest period for pilots before a flight.
“The FAA believes it is in the greater public interest to ensure and maintain the level of safety provided by the foundation of integrated aviation education required by” the current criteria, said the agency’s decision, which was released a day before the regional conference of airlines in Washington, DC
The FAA’s decision comes as airlines grapple with an acute pilot shortage that executives blame on service cuts, particularly in small cities.
Republic Airways did not immediately comment.