The FDA has cleared Gilead Covid-19 drug, Remdesivir, for treatment. This is a positive news for the airline industry. Since the shutdown, the airlines has taken a huge toll. Its employees have been furloughed and the its profits has been long gone. Each airlines is losing billions of dollars per month since the pandemic has started.
However, considering the easing of travel restrictions and allowing businesses to open back up, there is hope that the airlines will bounce back in 2021. It may not return to 2019 level for a couple more years but a recovery is a positive news. It certainly provides hope to the thousands of airlines employees who have been put to the side line since October 1st. While, Remdesivir is not a vaccine, it is a positive catalyst in fighting against coronavirus. President Trump was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and was treated with Gilead’s drug.
If Remdesivir is highly effective for covid-19 patients who require hospitalization and then there is a vaccine, then it provides ways that we can fight the virus for both healthy people and people who are severely affected by Covid-19.
On October 18, 2020, TSA checkpoint travel numbers for 2020 showed 1,031,505 passengers has traveled through their checkpoints in one day. That is 39.5% of previous year on the same weekday. That is a huge mile stone since the shutdown back in March-May. While thousands of airline employees including pilots and flight attendants have been furloughed, the recovery from the coronavirus is still ongoing.
Yesterday, October 1st, was a dark day for the airline industry. The airlines have furloughed over 32,000 employees to minimize labor costs due to the pandemic. Among those furloughed, there were thousands of flight attendants and pilots. While these numbers were predominantly from United Airlines and American Airlines, no report has been given for the other carriers. Most of the carrier have sent out WARN notices to their employees. However, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Air Lines have publicly stated that they will not be furloughing their pilots in October. Southwest and Alaska Airlines have deferred their pilot furloughs for several months. Delta Air Lines only delayed their pilot furloughs until November 1st. United Airlines has reached a deal with ALPA to mitigate their pilot furloughs. American Airlines became the first major airlines to furlough over 800 of their pilots and thousands of their flight attendants yesterday.
Today, October 2nd, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed additional aid($25 billion dollars) to support the airlines payroll and keep employees from being furloughed. Little did she know that the airlines have already furloughed their employees. In the event that the new stimulus bill was to pass with airlines payroll support, the furloughed employees will have to go through the process of being recall, which will depends on the negotiation and contractual agreements between the airlines and their respective unions.
Reliable Robotics, founded in 2017 by former Tesla and Space X engineers, have successfully completed its first flight in a Cessna Skyhawk 172, a piston engine airplane that is quite popular for flight training, nearly one year ago.
The company has also completed flight in a Cessna Caravan, which is owned by FedEx. For more detail, click here.
With empty seats and flight reductions, airlines are facing difficult challenges to keep their airlines operating through this pandemic. One of the options that they are forced to do now is furloughing their junior pilots and frontline employees. The big three legacy airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have all announced and sent out their furlough notices to their employees including pilots. Below is a breakdown of the estimated total number of pilots at each airlines and the number of pilot furloughs that they have announced so far.
The numbers below are only for the big three carriers. It does not include all of the low cost carriers and regional carriers that have sent out their WARN notices to their pilots last month with the intention to furlough them in October. It also does not provide numbers for the other airline frontline workers such as Flight Attendants, Ground Personnels, Customer Service Agents etc. To reference the previous article on WARN notices that were sent out or announced by all the airlines including the regional carriers, click here.
Each of those carriers have offered some type of early retirement options to their senior pilots to mitigate junior pilot furloughs. So the total number of pilots can be inaccurate. However, it is safe to say, that most of these airlines had at the most 2,000 pilots who took the early out option.
How long will the pilots and airline employees be furloughed? That’s a tough call. It depends on whether or not the Cares Act Extension but also the continuous effect from the pandemic on our society and the potential cures or therapy or vaccines that will be coming out hopefully sometime this year or next year. In the past, the furlough recalls can be on average 12 to 18 months. Let’s hope it will be much much less than that for all employees.
One thing that is certain is that this furlough, this time, is much different than in the past. Previous furloughs, pilots could look for jobs at the regional carriers or oversea carriers. Right now, there is not a single airline or company that could absorb the number of pilots who will be out on the street starting in October.
There is one option that airlines could mitigate furloughs for junior pilots. It’s called a Reduction in Average Line Values(by 5 or 10 hours per pilot per month) but paid at the current rates. Of course, some people think it’s a concession. I think it’s because that’s not what it’s always been done.
If you are thinking about whether or not now is the time to start your flight training and pursue your goal to become an Airline Pilot, then read here. Now if you are wondering about how you are going to fund your flight training, then you are heading the right direction. Flight training costs a lot of money. The decision to start your flight training should not be taken lightly. It is a very important decision in starting your career. The decision that you make today with regards to your flight training will have an effect on you later down the line. Once you are commited to flight training, making sure that you understand the full costs of your flight training can make a huge difference in the long run. Most people like myself funded our flight training through financing. Now there are a lot of options to finance your flight training. It just depends on the route that you take.
You can plan on going to a University(UND or Riddle) or a big flight school(ATP or others) to obtain your college degree and at the same time get your flight training done. Or you can google map your local airport, and they may just have a full time flight instructor who can get you started with an introductory flight and then help you work your way up on your flight training. Some airlines require a college degree and some don’t. So you just have to choose the direction that you would like to go. And then of course, there’s the military route where you can get most if not all of your flight trainig paid for and the benefits that’s attached to being in the military.
There are a lot of different avenues that you can take to become an airline pilot. There is not a practical way to list them all on a blog page. But hopefully, you can see some of these options and maybe that will help you make your decision better.
To understand how much it would cost to get all of your flight training done and start getting paid, you need to understand the structure of your flight training. First of all, if you are still unsure about whether or not to start your flight training now during a pandemic, then read here. Now everyone comes from different background, so even if you are fully committed to start your flight training, you may still be unsure about whether or not it really is something that you can do or want to do. This is why you should always start with an introductory flight. It costs around $150 but it will be a lot cheaper than if you were to start your training and then decided to back out of it later. A introductory flight is usally 30-45 minute flight with a flight instructor who will show you what it would be like to fly an airplane for the first time. It requires zero knowledge of aviation in general. Although, some preparation on your part can make your experience worth while. Most people have access to the internet. Use that to your advantage to prepare for your introductory flight. Once you have completed your introductory flight and are still interested in pursuing your aviation career, chances are, your instructor can provide you even more details about possible flight training. But here’s some background on it as well.
So once you have taken your first flight, hopefully you get to manipulate the flight control a little bit and maybe even an attempt to land an airplane for the first time, here are the next step in your flight training. Whether you are doing your flight training at your local airport or you are going to college and start your flight training, the process of getting your ratings and licenses is the same. Here’s the breakdown of the different ratings and licenses with its estimated costs.
Private Pilot License | $10,000
Instrument Rating | $9,000
Commercial Pilot License | $21,000
Flight Instructor License | $6,000
Optional: Airline Transport Pilot License | $4,000
Your first license that you will be working on will be your Private Pilot License. This allows you to operate an aircraft, typically a single engine piston aircraft, on your own and can have your family and friends fly with you as well. Now there are a lot of steps and challenges that you will be facing, but one of your biggest huddles at this stage is to get you to solo, meaning you operate the aircraft on your own from engine start to shutdown and flying around in the traffic pattern at your training airport. Don’t forget to have your instructor do something memorabale once you completed your first solo flight! Once you move passed this huddle, congratulations! That is a big step. There will be much more flight trainings to be done before your instructor will endorse you to take your Private Pilot practical test. Your instructor and/or your school will provide you with the curriculum and the structure of your flight training. If you are flying at your local airport with an instructor outside of a college curriculum, chances are you will be doing your flight training under Federal Aviation Regulation Part 61. Or if you are going to a college to do obtain your college degree and conduct your flight training, then you would be flying under Part 141. Part 61 requires about 40 hours of flight training before an instructor can endorse you to take your practical test for your Private Pilot License. Part 141 will require less time due to the structure of the curriculum that has been set up. Obviously, the estimated cost above is well an estimate. Some local flight base operators or flight schools will charge more or less than others. Other things to consider also, is that, as a pilot or commercial pilot, you will need different rating and license to operate a single engine airplane versus a multi-engine airplane. So consider that when you look at individual option for your flight training. Most regional airlines will require you to have minimum qualifications such as 1,250 hours total time(federal regulation requires 1,500 hours of total time), maybe 50-100 hours of multi-engine time with instrument rating and a commercial license certificate for multi-engine. They also want you to have your ATP written done.
So hopefully this helps you a little bit on how much flight training costs. Again, it will vary depends on the route that you decided to take. How much time you consistently fly, how quick you learn, the availability of your instructor, hourly rate cost for aircraft and/or fuel, hourly rate for your instructor(s), whether you choose to buy new supplies or used but current supplies, the structure of each flight courses, whether or not you choose to live in a dorm or commute from home, whether or not you choose to go with federal loans versus private loans, all play into how much you will need to finance or pay for your flight training. As always, comment below or click here to contact AvgeekPosts.
Trans States Airlines became the first to shut its door in April due to the effect of the pandemic on US economy. HQ in Bridgeton, MO. It transported 3.5 million passengers annually. It had 47 E145s. Trans States had about 603 pilots.
Compass was the second US Airlines to shut its door. HQ in Minneapolis, MN. Founded in 2007. It had 581 pilots.
ExpressJet could be next to shut its door with the recent announcement by United Airlines to cancel their contracts by year end. It has 1,375 pilots.
Here are a list of current airlines that have sent WARN letters to their pilots to warn them of the potential furlough as of October 1st.
United Airlines 3,900 Pilots (Total 13,300 Pilots)
Delta Air Lines 2,500 Pilots (Total 14,600 Pilots)
American Airlines 2,500 Pilots (Total 15,176 Pilots)
Allegiant 275 Pilots (Total 1,021 Pilots)
Repuplic Airways 933 Pilots with 400 Captain Downgrades. They’re closing their IAH and MCI crew domiciles (Total 2,461 Pilots)
Hawaiian Airlines 15-25% of Pilots (Total 864 Pilots)
Spirit 20-30% of Pilots (Total 2,598 Pilots)
Frontier 500 Pilots (Total 1,493 Pilots)
Piedmont Airlines 15% of Pilots with 40 Captain Downgrades (Total 746 Pilots)
PSA 730 Pilots with the closure of TYS and ORF domiciles. (Total 2,041 Pilots)
Envoy 350 Pilots (Total 2,500 Pilots)
GoJet 35% to 50% of Pilots (Total 600 Pilots)
For the majors, Southwest and Alaska Airlines are the two that have announced that they will not be furloughing pilots this year.
The coronavirus(SARS-COV-2) pandemic has caused quite a bit of disruption in every corner of the world. At the time of this writing, the world is standing with almost 18 million confirmed cases with over 684 thousands deaths. The US is seeing over 4.6 million confirmed cases with over 154 thousands deaths. Millions of people are out of a job all over the world. So why is it still a good time to learn to fly?
If the world was to end, it would’ve ended. But it hasn’t. After all you are reading this blog amidst the pandemic. Humanity has been around for a very long time. Humanity has gone through a lot from previous pandemics, world wars, regional wars, genocides and much much more. Whether the environment that we are seeing and living today is a direct result of our doing, that’s a different discussion on its own. But what we have to acknowledge is that the world will continue. People are resilient. We have very intelligent people working on vaccines and therapies to help cure this virus. So this means that there will be sunshine and green grass on the other side. What we can do now is to keep our hopes up and be patient. It’s easier said than done.
Aviation will return. If you do a little Google search, the internet will tell you that the current estimates for the return of international flying is around 2024. That is ONLY 4 years from now. So what can you do to prepare yourself for that return? Well if you caught the bug with flying, you can become a pilot starting today!
So here are the list of reasons why you should still become an airline pilot today!
Downtime is good. Stay Focus.
Aviation is the way of the future
Flying is a career
Downtime in an economy is a good thing for learning to fly. If you want to become an airline pilot, now is the time to do it. The saying, “Buy low, sell high” is the logic in this. Amidst the coronavirus and recession, the supply and demand logic is still in play. Flight schools and Flight Base Operators may have to lower their price due to lack of the demans in flying. (You can google for your local flight schools and FBOs to find a place to start flying.) Now since most companies aren’t hiring pilots at this time, it makes it a great time to fly. Would you rather learn to fly when everyone is hiring? Or would you want to be ahead of that trend by learning to fly now so that when companies start to hire again, you will be ready to get paid to fly?
Aviation is the way of the future. Can you imagine a world 20 years from now with regards to traveling and transportation? Do you think people will stay inside and only travel locally? Of course not. Maybe before there was public transportation, most people travel 5 miles beyond their home. That was probably very adventurous. Then comes horse carriage, trains, automobiles, and airplanes. The world will continue to rotate and people will continue to expand their horizons. This means people will continue to fly. And that means pilots will be needed to help transport people from point A to point B.
Flying is a professional career. When you become a pilot, you are going to have a well paid professional career. It may not seem like it at the moment. But you will realize your potential. If you get furlough, there will be other companies that will continue to hire pilots. The pandemic may be a unique situation, but again, this will only be temporary.
As a pilot, you will be rewarded quite well. The chart below shows Pilot Annual Pay over a thirty year career at a major airline. More on the breakdown of how much a pilot make at the major airlines, here.
One of the benefits as an airline pilot is you get to fly all over the world for free. Yup, that is a very real benefit of being an airline pilot. Most of the airlines from all over the world basically link up to provide benefits to their employees. This means an ability to travel for free if not at a much cheaper cost than a regular fare. Not only do you get to travel to different cities, new states, diferent regions of the country, but also many corners of the world. Now there will be some logistics that you’d have to work out. But many flight crews have taken advantage of this perks on a daily basis, pre-covid time of course.
Now being a pilot does come with its fair and arduous challenges. If it was so easy, then everyone would do it already. The fact is, it takes a lot of hard work, commitment to your goal, commitment to your health, passion for flights, and the perseverance to succeed. Certainly, you cannot go to training for only several months and then expected to be able to perform at the level of an airline pilot. It takes solid time to perfect your foundations as a pilot at different stages of your training. Once you’ve accomplished your goals, the rewards can be very fulfilling. So if you are one who believes that difficulties and challenges make you better in the future, then becoming a pilot is an option to consider.
Pilot retirements will be a huge drive in pilot shortage. Why is this important? Because in the airlines, seniority is key. Seniority means you have been with company than another person below you. This can afford you the difference between being a reserve pilot versus a “lineholder” pilot who has a set schedule every month. Better seniority will allow you to have possibly more days off each month, more weekends off, higher pay rates and of course, time to spend your holidays with the family and friends. You can read more on pilot retirements at the major airlines, here.
So despite of what’s going on around you, about the virus, the downturn of the economy, the potential pilot furloughs, one thing that can help you through the day is to stay hopeful but also have a plan. We can be hopeful that there will be effective and imminent therapies and vaccines that will minimize or prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We can be hopeful that the world will turn around from 2020 and accelerate into the future with better focus, with higher strength and clearer path to the years to come, one day at a time. When the economy is down and airlines furlough, that’s ok. It’s a good time to stay focus in school and flight training. Later on, your accomplishment will be very fulfilling because you took the time to learn and grow during a very challenging time. The airlines and the wonder of flights will reward you with its great benefits, gratitude and great compensation. The attrition due to retirements will only sweeten the deal for you. The opportunity to become a pilot is for you to take.
There will be another blog on the way as a step by step guide to get you start on flying. However, if you have already commited to aviation and/or you have already done your introductory flight, click below for your aviation supplies. It’s important that you keep your overall cost low. David Clark is a solid beginner headset. Your headset, even for the least expensive ones, should last you through your flight trainings and beyond.
Have you ever wonder how much an airline pilot makes at a major airline in the United States? Below is a breakdown of how much a pilot makes at a major airline such as Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, FedEx Express, United Parcel Service and United Airlines.
Something to keep in mind when looking over the graphs and chart below is that there are a lot of variables pertaining to the data below. For example, a pilot could work at minimum guaranteed hours to obtain better quality of life such as spending time with the family, taking leisure travels all over the world, work on side gigs or career etc. Vice versa, a pilot can work a lot(maybe on average of 120 hours per month) to save up and reap the benefits of working all the time. So if a pilot makes $160 per hour and work 120 hours per month for one year, the difference could be over $84,000 per year when compared to another pilot who makes the same hourly rate at minimum guaranteed hours of 76. The guaranteed hours will depend on individual airlines as well.
The graph above shows the pay comparison for different major airlines at First Officer pay from year 1 to year 10 on one aircraft pay rate. Typically, individual airline has multiple different types of aircrafts that they operate. The pay rates could be different on multiple narrowbody aircrafts and widebody aircrafts. The seat that you occupied, First Officer or Captain, will also have different rates. As a junior or new pilot to the company, you would start at lower end of the pay. You typically fly single-aisle aircrafts such as a Boeing 737 or Airbus 320 variants. As a junior first officer, your guranteed hours typically kept at a minimum. Sometimes that is by choice and other times it is due to being junior in senority. In the airlines, the higher your senority is, another word, the longer you have been with the company, the better your pay will be. Schedule becomes more flexible as well. You can free up your schedule by reducing your flight hours to focus on other things in life, or you can pick up more and better trips at premium rate.
Once you have accumulated enough years in the company, your seniority allows you to step up to another aircraft with better pay. A widebody aircraft pilot, typically, will have better pay within an individual airlines. Figure 2 shows pay comparison for First Officer starting at year 5 to year 10. Normally, your senority would not be able to hold widebody aircrafts until roughly year 5 and up. Once you can hold another aircraft type, you would have the opportunity to qualify on that aircraft. This graph is based on pilot pay at minimum guranteed hours on a widebody aircraft such as a Boeing 777, Boeing 787, Airbus 330 etc. These aircrafts are sought after aircrafts due to much higher pay, more experienced crew, newer and better destinations, better schedule, less cancelations and many other factors. Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines are not on this list because they only operate narrowbody aircrafts such as a Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 variants.
Generally, you would spend sometime on the right seat of airliner until your seniority can hold a left seat, which will then allow you to the opportunity to qualify for a Captain upgrade. It takes several years to be able to hold seniority on the left seat in a major airline. Although that time has been closer to 20 years in the past. Most recently, Captain upgrade has been taken only a few years to hold. Figure 3 shows your pay progression and comparison starting at Captain upgrade at year 5 pay at minimum guaranteed hours. The time frame to upgrade to the left seat will vary by individual airlines and of course individual pilot.
With longevity comes higher seniority within the company. This will allow you more career progression such as upgrading from a left seat of a narrow body aircraft to a left seat on a widebody aircraft. Figure 4 shows the Pay Progression of an Airline Captain of a widebody aircraft calculated at minimum hours. As an Airline Captain on a widebody aircraft of a major airline, you are one of the highest pay pilots in the company. However, UPS, has combined aircraft pay for their pilot. United Parcel Service is a major cargo carrier. Their aircrafts(Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Airbus 300 etc) are larger than your narrowbody aircrafts. Figure 5 shows annual pay for Captains on a widebody aircraft at minimum guaranteed hours. With the exception of FedEx and UPS, the airline pay increase maxed at year 12. The two major cargo companies has max pay at year 15. Something to keep in mind is that just because year 12 or 15 is the max pay year, because the graph is calculated based on minimum guaranteed hours, a pilot can make much more by flying more trips. A pilot who works at the minimum guaranteed hours, as a “schedule-holder” aka “lineholder”, can pick up a lot of trips each month. Individual pilot group negotiated contract can dictates whether or not a pilot can pick up trips. The federal regulation Part 117 can also be a limiting factor.
Figure 5 shows pilot annual pay at minimum guaranteed hours based on a pilot’s career progression over the course of 30 years. Now you may wonder what a pilot career progression look like. At a major airline, you typically would see a big pay jump from year 1 to year 2. Then the pay increase follows a steady rise up to the max pay year(year 12 or 15). However, a pilot may choose to switch from a narrowbody aircraft to a widebody aircraft. This typically happens around year 5 with the company. After 10 years with a major airline, a pilot may choose to upgrade to Captain which rewards a pilot with a pretty decent pay bump. Airlines such as Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines and FedEx have different pay scales for narrow body aircrafts versus widebody aircrafts. Again, widebody aircrafts are better sought after. Therefore, to hold a widebody aircraft position, either on the left seat or the right seat, more seniority is required. Please keep in mind that a pilot must qualify on any type of aircraft prior to being able to operate on one. Figure 6 shows a big pay bump at year 20. This was adjusted for pilots who have been narrow body Captains from year 11 to year 19, and then decided and able to take the upgrade to a Captain on a widebody aircraft. Again, UPS has single aircraft pay scale, so once you have upgraded to Captain and after year 15, you will have reached your max pay. This is assumed that you continue to fly at minimum guaranteed hours.
Figure 6 shows a more realistic career progression at a major airline. A pilot typically spends 5 years as a First Officer on a narrow body aircraft prior to stepping up to as a First Officer on a widebody aircraft. The first coupel of years at a major airlines(while there is a lot of variables), the pay is calculated at minimum hours. After the first couple of years, the hours are calculated at 90 hours per month. This is a very realistic number for most pilots at all airlines at that seniority. Once a First Officer upgrades to a widebody position, the first couple of years in that position is calculated at minimum hours. This is based on the first slot available for that pilot at his seniority to switch seat. Then the pay is calculated at 90 hours. After roughly 10 years in the airline, that pilot can upgrade to the left seat on a narrow body aircraft. Again, the first couple of years in the new position, the pay is calculated at minimum hours. Year 3 of each position is calculated at 90 hours. Then the pilot spends another 10 years in that seat, prior to upgrading to the left seat on a widebody aircraft. The first couple of years as a Captain on a widebody aircraft, the pay is calculated at minimum hours. After that, the pay is calculated at 90 hours again. At 90 hours per month on the left seat of a widebody aircraft at a major airline, you are one of the top pay pilots. Most recently, pilots can get to a major airline in their early 30’s(although this time line has been reduced dramatically prior to the coronavirus pandemic). Based on the federal mandatory retirement age of 65, that pilot would have over 30 years of flying at a major airline.
Figure 7 is derived from a more realistic pilot career progression of figure 6. It shows the average annual pay for a pilot over a 30 year career for each major airline. Interestingly, UPS has the highest average annual pay for their pilots. Alaska has the lowest average annual pay for pilots over the course of 30 years.
This data is calculated based on just hourly compensation. It does not adjust for the company 401k contribution(typically over 15%), profit sharing and any other benefits. Each individual pilot group for each airline has negotiated contracts with their airlines that can allow the pilot more flexibility with their schedule. The overal pay for pilot can vary by a lot of factors, whether it’d be reducing their flying minimum below guaranteed hours(which of course will lower a pilot’s pay), or picking up open trips at a premium rate or other beneficial languages in their contracts. Individual pilot will also have a lot of variables that could effect their schedule and their pay. The pay alone does not mean that any one airline is more sought after than the others. There are a lot of variables. Generally, at the major airline, compensation is a priority. But more so, is quality of life. The ability to live in base, the flexibility to adjust your schedule, the career progression within an individual airilnes, company balance sheet, reputation etc can all be contributing factors to choosing an airline that you want to work for. Another article on why it is a good time to be an airline pilot will be releasing soon.
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The price of a lifetime travel pass with American Airlines was $250,000 back in 1981. It was an unlimited first class travel on American Airlines. Today, that same ticket would be worth about $700,000.
While that same ticket today may not be worth its price considering the severe restrictions on travel throughout the globe, one could wonder how wonderful it must have been to have that type of privilege.
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