JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Airports are busy this Good Friday as people travel to see family for the holiday weekend. But, some airlines are struggling to keep up with the staffing shortages and increased demand.
According to the website FlightAware, 25 flights were delayed and one was canceled in and out of JAX on Friday.
The director of aviation at Jacksonville University told News4JAX he believes the pilot shortage will be an ongoing issue in the foreseeable future.
“At the end of the day, the biggest barrier to producing a commercial pilot is the amount of money it costs to get through flight training,” Captain Matt Tuohy said. “If you start out with no rating and you finish with an instrument instructor rating, at most flight schools, that can cost between $65,000-$80,000, that’s a lot of money upfront.”
Tuohy said training can take 6-9 months, but the pilot needs flight time to get an Air Transport Pilot Certificate.
“My students that I’m talking to today that are looking at starting in the fall -- 4 years from now, 5 years from now when they’re ready to be a regional airline pilot -- the need will be almost as great, if not greater than it is today,” Tuohy said
Airports and airlines have been dealing with all kinds of problems during the spring break period this year.
Earlier this week, Southwest Pilots Union released a statement saying pilots are suffering from an epidemic of fatigue. This is happening due to poor scheduling by the airline and it’s raising safety concerns.
Jet Blue Airways said it’s trimming flights by 10% because of staffing shortages.
Alaska Airlines has blamed a staffing shortage for the surge in cancelations and delays. The airline plans to trim its flight schedules by 2%.
One thing to remember when traveling is your mask. The mask mandate has been extended until May 3.