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Pilot shortage hits travel industry amid summer demand, schools step in to help

The pilot shortage has snarled travelers’ plans amid a summer surge in flights, and Las Vegas flying schools are stepping in to fill the gap.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 9:11 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -The pilot shortage has snarled travelers’ plans amid a summer surge in flights, and Las Vegas flying schools are stepping in to fill the gap.

“Once you get to that 1500 hours, a lot of doors open up. Practically everyone you know is hiring at this time,” said flight instructor Shiva Gummi, set to head into commercial flying and regional airlines. “My goal is to fly as many planes as possible during my lifetime,” he said.

The pilot industry has faced numerous shortages throughout the pandemic. Veteran pilots received early retirement packages, and flight school instruction and training has not kept pace with post-pandemic demand.

“It‘s great for pilots that already have the ratings and that are getting into flying right now, because the pay is going up,” said Matthew Binner of Airwork Las Vegas. “We try to place our students after graduating, and our certified flight instructors after getting the required hours with the local companies here,” he said.

“Now they’re giving $20,000, that’s just the signing bonus to work for them for a couple of years, on top of better and better salaries,” he said.

Binner said good qualifications for a future pilot are a good work ethic, a lot of studying, and calm nerves. Pilots in Las Vegas can complete training in shorter time periods than other cities due to better weather, Binner said.