Who Pays to Train Pilots?
A recent Buffalo News article discusses how the airlines are lobbying to rescind a new provision requiring commercial pilots to obtain 1,500 hours of flight time before they are certified (a Congressional response to last year’s fatal crash in Buffalo). The companies believe that this will cause pilots’ wages to rise (to pay for the increased training costs the pilots must incur), causing average total costs to increase, increasing industry prices and reducing output and profits.
But there are winners: flight schools would see an increase in demand (as pilot trainees stay enrolled longer); and, most important, the consumer who values safety a lot would be safer, at the cost of higher-priced air tickets. No doubt the airlines would welcome a return to the good old days, when almost all pilots were former military men whose training costs were paid by taxpayers, which represented a huge indirect subsidy to the airlines.