ARIZONA NEWS

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

Mesa homicide suspect arrested in connection to Feb. 4 murder...

KTAR.com

Mesa police arrest man accused of fatally stabbing a victim in his apartment

A Mesa homicide suspect has been arrested, police announced on Wednesday. Mario Ortiz Jr. allegedly killed a 29-year-old man on Feb. 4.

59 minutes ago

Kari Lake's many jabs at John McCain; daughter reacts...

Serena O'Sullivan

Kari Lake is ‘delusional’ for backpedaling on her anti-John McCain rhetoric, Meghan McCain says

Kari Lake told Barry Markson on Monday her many jabs at John McCain were jokes. Meghan McCain told KTAR on Wednesday she isn't buying it.

4 hours ago

Lester Paul Richmond was arrested in Alabama on Feb. 16, 2024, on animal cruelty charges. (Pike Cou...

KTAR.com

Scottsdale man accused in animal cruelty case arrested in Alabama

A Scottsdale man accused in an animal cruelty case was arrested Friday in Alabama, authorities said.

6 hours ago

Split image of Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, left, and Manhattan District Attorney Alvi...

Kevin Stone

Maricopa County’s top prosecutor at odds with Manhattan DA over violent crime suspect

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is accusing metro Phoenix’s top prosecutor of “playing political games” with a high-profile violent crime suspect.

7 hours ago

A look inside the South Concourse terminal expansion at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizo...

Kevin Stone

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport debuts new terminal in time for spring travel season

After 18 months of construction, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport’s terminal expansion project is complete in time for the spring travel season.

8 hours ago

John Holmberg Amazing Arizonans KTAR News 92.3 FM...

Mike Broomhead

Amazing Arizonans: Radio host John Holmberg dishes on voice work, stand-up comedy, more

Longtime Valley radio host John Holmberg is the latest guest on Mike Broomhead's Amazing Arizonans podcast, which celebrates greatness.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

...

FanDuel

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

Mesa Airlines invests in planes for pilot development program