GREENFIELD — Whether you're traveling this summer or years in the future, experts say there is and will be a shortage of pilots.
Now a local aviation company is taking it upon itself to address the shortage.
Jet Access is a private aviation company that also provides flight training needed for pilots to eventually fly commercial planes. They just announced that they are selecting 22 people to assist with the financial side of getting a pilot license.
"So, we created a pilot development program to help combat the pilot shortage in the aviation industry,” said John Mauch, chief flight instructor at Jet Access. “In the Columbus Indiana market, we are sponsoring 22 students for their initial pilot certificates whether that be their private pilot certificates or their instrument rating."
While the pilot shortage may seem like it isn't affecting the everyday traveler, it has the potential to. That is why programs like this are important to the future of aviation. If aviation companies start to lose profits, flights for everyday people could be harder to come by, according to people in the industry.
"They are going to maximize the number of seats they have on a route,” said Brian Dillman, associate professor of Aviation and Transportation Technology at Purdue. “They could also consider a reduction of service to some underserved areas or areas where the number of passengers is not what they need to ensure profitability of that route."
Other solutions have also been proposed like increasing the mandatory retirement age for pilots from 65 to 67. This recommendation is Something that could help, but likely won't make a huge impact.
"If we look at who I would consider the workhorses within an airline the more senior pilots are not usually the workhorses. They don't usually fly the maximum number of hours," said Dillman.
Jet Access has dedicated around $400,000 toward this program. Right now they are just operating the program in Columbus, but plan on expanding to other regional airports in the state.
The program will save selected students pursuing their private pilot's license around $18,000. Flight students wishing to pursue a four-year degree can get their degree from Purdue Global at a reduced price. For more information, click here.