PILOT SHORTAGES AND LOSERS IN PORTLAND: Portland’s lack of pilots is forcing airlines to turn to other pilots to replace them, but those pilots are also paying the price for the pilots shortages.
The number of pilots in Portland, Oregon has more than doubled since the beginning of this year, and some airlines are turning to other airlines to fill their pilots jobs.
“It’s a real challenge,” said Matt Smith, an airline consultant and former CEO of Portland-based JetBlue.
“When you have that kind of a demand for people, that kind a need, it puts a lot of pressure on the workforce.
The demand is outstripping the supply.”
Smith said Portland’s shortage has affected pilots as well.
“The supply is not there,” he said.
“You have people who are waiting in line for months at a time, and the pilots are left with the job they can’t do.”
Smith has seen pilots being turned away from flights in Portland because of the lack of planes, and he said the situation is not helping pilots.
“I’ve seen pilots getting frustrated because they’re trying to find the best airline to fly,” he told Vice News.
“They’re waiting on a plane that’s not going to take off in three days.”
Smith and other pilots said the airline industry is in a difficult place, and they’re worried about the pilots shortage.
“This is a real problem that’s hurting the industry, and we’re not going anywhere,” said Smith.
“We’re going to continue to work together to make this work.
But it’s really a challenge.”
The number and types of pilots being used by some airlines has become a big part of the pilot shortage.
Smith said some airlines have turned to pilots to fill pilot vacancies.
“There’s definitely a need for more pilots, especially in the U.S. Southwest has been looking at this,” said Jason Houghton, president of Southwest Airlines.
“It’s not just about the supply, it’s about the demand.”
“We need pilots who are willing to fly as much as they can to meet our demand,” said Houghston.
Smith believes there is a lack of skilled pilots and that it’s time to start finding ways to fill the need.
“I don’t think the pilot industry is going to make it overnight,” he added.
“What we need to do is get pilots who know how to fly to Portland and work with them to create jobs and to get them out of the door as quickly as possible.”
In the meantime, Smith said the FAA is working with airlines and other airlines on ways to help pilots get their jobs back.
Smith, who is also a pilot himself, said he and other pilot operators are calling on the FAA to take action.
“Now is the time to get the FAA involved, because I don’t want pilots to be left out,” he explained.
“In a perfect world, we’d have an FAA who is looking out for all of us, but in the meantime I think it’s critical for the FAA and the FAA’s leadership to step in.”
“It is not just a pilot shortage, it is an aviation shortage,” Smith added.
He said the pilots’ lack of skills and experience is making it hard for airlines to fly planes in Portland.