Daily Management Review

Commercial Airlines Giving Competition For Business Jets For U.S. Pilots


Commercial Airlines Giving Competition For Business Jets For U.S. Pilots
Business jet operators are competing with U.S. airlines in North America to attract pilots even after making offers of double digit raises says, executives and market analysts.
U.S.-based aviation consultant Rolland Vincent said that airlines are receiving deliveries of new aircrafts very quickly and hence they are competing to get hold of talented pilots by offering higher salaries and better benefits compared to business jet operators. And potentially adding to the competition is the almost 700 provisional orders for narrowbody commercial jets that Boeing Co and Airbus SE accrued from the Dubai Air Show this week.
The training specialist CAE Inc estimates that an additional 255,000 pilots would be needed by 2027 due to the rapid growth in the world’s commercial aviation industry.
Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots’ Association (APA), which represents American Airlines pilots said that while in 2017, around 500 mainline pilots were hired by American Airlines and it is now expected to hire around 900 pilots in 2018 even as other U.S. legacy carriers are attempting to replace retiring staff by recruiting employees to fly new aircraft.
“It’s really a buyers’ market and the buyer is the pilot now,” Tajer said. “If you don’t pay pilots the market rate you’re going to lose them.”
Adam Twidell, chief executive of PrivateFly, a global private jet charter broker said that in contrast in Europe, following the ceasing of operations by Air Berlin and Britain’s Monarch Airlines ceased operations, there were not much dearth of commercial pilots faced by corporate jet operators this year as the commercial aviation carriers possessed an adequate number of pilots.
$130,000 on average was made by a captain in-charge of flying a midsized corporate plane such as the Bombardier Challenger 350, according to the 2017 pilot salary survey from the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). In contrast, just over $268,000 on an average was earned by a captain of the American Airlines flying the B737 or A320 narrowbody in 2017, concluded an APA compensation document.
There has been a rise of 20% this year in the salaries of corporate pilots this year, said Don Haloburdo, vice president and general manager of flight services for business aircraft management and charter company Jet Aviation, a division of General Dynamics Corp).
Even though that extra salaries would enhance the costs of operation for business jects, Haloburdo expects that increase could be absorbed. He is of the opinion that since fuel prices are relatively low and it is the main expense for such flights, he said.
 Since airlines would boost recruiting efforts and markets would see popular new places entering from Bombardier and Gulfstream, also a division of General Dynamics, the demand for corporate pilots and staff for maintenance would increase after 2018 even though right now business jet sales are flat, Haloburdo said.
“When Bombardier starts delivering the Global 7000 in significant numbers, Gulfstream starts delivering their G500 and G600 in significant numbers, that’s where our industry is going to have a very significant challenge finding qualified crew members,” he said.

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