U.S. military officials next month will meet with their counterparts in the airline industry to discuss how the Pentagon and commercial airlines can work together to deal with a nationwide pilot shortage, the head of Air Mobility Command said Wednesday.
The meeting is set to take place May 18 at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, Gen. Carlton Everhart II said during a breakfast with defense reporters Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
“We have competing resources,” he said, referring to the military and the airline industry. “So how do we complement each other instead of competing against each other? And that is one of the objectives of this meeting.”
The head of Air Mobility Command said he stands to potentially lose 1,600 pilots who are eligible to separate from the service in the next four years. The command, which provides airlift and transport services, is among the first place civilian airlines look for potential hires.
Everhart said he plans to attend the meeting — which is actually the third such get-together involving military and airline officials — along with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, headquarters Air Force and operations personnel, airline industry representatives and regional airline officials, as well as colleagues from the Army, Marine Corps and the Navy.
Academic institutions such as Embry Riddle University, an aeronautical university specializing in aviation and aerospace, and civil reserve airfleet institutions such as FedEx or UPS may also attend, Everhart said. RAND Corp., a nonprofit institution that provides research and analysis studies on public policy, will also sit in for research purposes, he said.
One concern Everhart hears repeatedly is the “1,500 rule,” he said, referring to the number of hours the Federal Aviation Administration requires civilian pilots to have before they can fly for a major airline.
“The 1,500 rule — where did that 1,500 hours come from?” Everhart said. “That came out of some aircraft incidents that happened.”
A military-trained pilot needs only 750 hours under FAA rules, “which makes us a highly valuable commodity to the airline industry,” he said.
But it’s not just pilots.
Demand is also surging for aircraft maintainers and air traffic control room operators as well because they, too, are sought after by the airlines, Everhart told reporters and congressional staffers Friday at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
Everhart said he wants industry to lead the meeting “with solutions” for these dilemmas but he also has a few ideas in mind.
Read more of this story at Military.com.