Mesa Airlines invests in planes for pilot development program

Sep 24, 2022, 6:30 AM

(Pipistrel Aircraft Photo)...

(Pipistrel Aircraft Photo)

(Pipistrel Aircraft Photo)

PHOENIX — Mesa Airlines announced Thursday an investment of 29 planes for its pilot development program aimed at alleviating the shortage in the industry.

The program will provide qualified pilots up to 1,500 flight hours fully financed by Mesa with zero interest, with up to 40 hours of flight time each week, according to a press release.

“The pilot shortage could become a permanent feature of the airline industry if we don’t get more aviators into the system,” Jonathan Ornstein, chairman and CEO of Mesa said in the release.

“It is basic math. If there aren’t enough trained pilots, customers suffer from loss of service and high-ticket prices.”

As part of the commitment, flight costs will be repaid over three years during employment at Mesa Airlines, the release said.

Pilots will also begin building company longevity, receive flight benefits and be given priority for employment as a first officer at Mesa Airlines.

The shortage — which has forced airlines to reduce routes to various destinations and boost ticket prices — mainly comes after the 2013 Federal Aviation Administration regulation that increased the amount of flight hours prospective pilots needs for an ATP certificate from 250 to 1,500.

“In some cases, routes that get cut as a result of the pilot shortage are the only commercial air services to those communities,” Ornstein said.

“Without action now, the U.S. air travel system may be snarled for the next decade. The stakes are high for both passengers and the U.S. economy.”

Due to the 1,500-hour federal mandate, it’s been particularly difficulty for disadvantaged communities and minority groups to become commercial pilots due to rising costs and required training time, Mesa Airlines said.

The airline and commercial industry needs about 14,500 new pilots annually, although, the nation produces about 6,335 newly certified pilots each year — only meeting about 44% of the need.

Mesa currently has the highest pay rate in the regional industry at $100 per hour. Its pilots can also join the United Aviate program which can directly connect them to United Airlines.

“Mesa’s Pilot Development Program is an example of the private sector working to solve the challenges created by new regulations. No other country in the world has adopted the 1,500-hour rule. This creates a situation where many foreign licensed pilots can fly over this country and into some of the world’s busiest airports event though the would not be considered experienced enough to fly a commercial aircraft by the FAA,” Ornstein said.

The newly purchased, FAA approved Pipistrel Alpha Trainer 2 aircraft is a two seat, high wing, modern fiber design.

Interested pilots can read more about the program online.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Smoke rises from the smoldering Range Fire near Florence, Arizona....

Arizona’s Range Fire mostly contained after burning more than 1,000 acres over weekend

The Range Fire, a wildfire that burned through more than 1,000 acres in Arizona over the weekend, was mostly contained by Sunday night, authorities said.

1 hour ago

Scorpions and spiders a bigger threat to Arizonans as temps rise...

Serena O'Sullivan

Creepy-crawly alert: Valley poison control center warns about scorpion and spider season

The Banner Poison Control Center warned Arizonans to keep an eye out for scorpions and spiders as temperatures rise.

4 hours ago

Vasectomies now available at Planned Parenthood's Phoenix clinic...

Serena O'Sullivan

Planned Parenthood now offering vasectomy services in Phoenix

The demand for vasectomies spiked after the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated the 1864 abortion law earlier this month.

4 hours ago

File photo of workers in a copper mine. A mining exploration company could establish a copper mine ...

Audrey Jensen/Phoenix Business Journal

Copper mining company has eyes on massive Casa Grande site

Ivanhoe Electric Inc., a mining exploration company, could establish a copper mine at a massive site south of metro Phoenix.

4 hours ago

The two men killed in the crash were both from India and were both 19-years-old, according to Peori...

2 dead, 2 more hospitalized after crash in Peoria near Lake Pleasant

Two people were killed and two others were hospitalized in a head-on collision in Peoria, near Lake Pleasant, on Saturday night.

11 hours ago

Phoenix experienced its first 100-degree day of the year on April 21, 2024. The daily average tempe...

Phoenix records first 100-degree day of 2024

After a wet and cool start to the year, Phoenix experienced its first 100-degree day of the year on Sunday.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Mesa Airlines invests in planes for pilot development program