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Seattle Times Article on Horizon / Pilot Shortage

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
#2
Same news, different day... There has been a few articles and local news segments about Horizons issues lately.

It's no secret that all regionals are hurting, granted their pay is heading in the right direction it still isn't where it should be in my opinion. Some of the comments below the article were spot on. The comment about garbage service drivers making 75k and New hire FO's making 35-40k made me laugh. Especially since my Mother told me one day when I was a child that if I wanted to be a pilot, I would have to get really high grades in school. If my grades were not good enough, then I'd have to be a garbage man... Little did she know! However, I'm sure garbage truck drivers don't have a sliver of the potential earnings that a pilot can expect throughout a career. I just thought it was a great point.

I will say I make more money here than I did at that other airline I once worked for, and the bonus was nice as well. Gave me enough to pay some debt after losing a ton of money commuting to Los Angeles previously. Also, the Q400 is way more fun to fly if you like actually being a pilot. Horizon is far from perfect, but what regional is at this point. Compass and SkyWest are also solid options for guys living in the NW now, that is honestly what has hurt Horizon as of late. For years, they banked on guys wanting to fly at Horizon because of the exclusive NW basing. Now that other airlines offer the same bases as a relatively junior pilot, Horizon definitely has their work cut out for them in the recruiting field.
 
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#3
Same news, different day... There has been a few articles and local news segments about Horizons issues lately.

It's no secret that all regionals are hurting, granted their pay is heading in the right direction it still isn't where it should be in my opinion. Some of the comments below the article were spot on. The comment about garbage service drivers making 75k and New hire FO's making 35-40k made me laugh. Especially since my Mother told me one day when I was a child that if I wanted to be a pilot, I would have to get really high grades in school. If my grades were not good enough, then I'd have to be a garbage man... Little did she know! However, I'm sure garbage truck drivers don't have a sliver of the potential earnings that a pilot can expect throughout a career. I just thought it was a great point.

I will say I make more money here than I did at that other airline I once worked for, and the bonus was nice as well. Gave me enough to pay some debt after losing a ton of money commuting to Los Angeles previously. Also, the Q400 is way more fun to fly if you like actually being a pilot. Horizon is far from perfect, but what regional is at this point. Compass and SkyWest are also solid options for guys living in the NW now, that is honestly what has hurt Horizon as of late. For years, they banked on guys wanting to fly at Horizon because of the exclusive NW basing. Now that other airlines offer the same bases as a relatively junior pilot, Horizon definitely has their work cut out for them in the recruiting field.
I feel like that has always been horizons only draw. NW bases. Even when I lived in pdx back in 2011 that was the only real draw for people. The pay was marginally more than other regionals back then.
Skywest had pdx to but it was super senior.
 

SeanD

Well-Known Member
#6
Garbage truck driver.....

Job security. Consistent income. Retirement protected by guys named Vito and Pauli rather than brokered by Drexel Lambert or Lehman.

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True story. The main trash company here in Vegas is apparently run by the mob and has been since the early 1990s.
 

tomokc

Well-Known Member
#7
A friend's 25-year-old kid is a welder and he's been offered $110/hour ($220,000/year) to maintain suspension bridges. That's a lot of money, but it's in Michigan, in the weather, in the winter, doing things that can kill you. Wait - that sounds like flying regionals out of DTW!
 

Cóndor

Well-Known Member
#8
Yawn . . . if there was a true regional airline-wide pilot shortage then SkyWest would not be able to cover anyone's flying, and it's not about pay either because theirs won't be any better (as compared to mainline pay) for the next several years yet they seem to have no problems filling positions now. Thing is, half of the airline flying in this country is still done on the backs of cheap labor and millennials have figured out that the ROI for training costs and initial crappy work conditions is just not worth it when they can get into other stuff (like coding) and get their flying fix by "virtual" means. There's only so many returnees and mid-life career changers to go around before the staffing problem at most of these regionals starts reaching critical mass though . . .
 

SurferLucas

Southern Gentleman
#9
I'm hoping for fellow employees at Horizon, that this isn't a case of "Too little, too late". QX has always been treated as the redheaded stepchild of AAG...constantly told that we "cost too much", "We want you to act like Alaska, but you're really not Alaska...we need another JD Power award", and threatened with "Sign this contract now, or we'll do away with QX and give all the flying to Skywest". Alaska told us they needed us to "cut our cost", then turned around and gave University of Washington $40 Million to put their name on the FIELD at Husky Stadium (not the stadium name, the F-in FIELD).

They hired an absolute MORON who's idea of negotiating was "We do things my way, because I'm the smartest person here...or I'll just shut it down", and wouldn't know the truth if it was bending him over and taking him from behind (good luck with that F9). Tried to cut the training footprint down to the bare minimum...and we've had people waiting a month for IOE, then getting sent back to the sim because they just didn't retain the information.

Now...given all that, Alaska is finally coming around to the idea that Horizon needs major changes and opened up the checkbook. I don't think QX is going anywhere, personally. Horizon still has some of the best people around, and our pilot group is still tops...operating a challenging plane, in a challenging environment and doing cool things with our planes/operation.

Come fly here, I might be the one showing you the ropes ;)
 

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
#11
Yawn . . . if there was a true regional airline-wide pilot shortage then SkyWest would not be able to cover anyone's flying, and it's not about pay either because theirs won't be any better (as compared to mainline pay) for the next several years yet they seem to have no problems filling positions now. Thing is, half of the airline flying in this country is still done on the backs of cheap labor and millennials have figured out that the ROI for training costs and initial crappy work conditions is just not worth it when they can get into other stuff (like coding) and get their flying fix by "virtual" means. There's only so many returnees and mid-life career changers to go around before the staffing problem at most of these regionals starts reaching critical mass though . . .
^^ This is very true. At the moment regional new hire classes are filled with guys that are in their 40's and 50's that want to try out the career as the pay is now barely liveable. I'm 29, and in my class of 8 at QX I was the youngest. There are young people out of college entering, but not at the same level of the mid life career changers or guys that have returned to "the field".

I've been hearing about colleges now starting to fill their flight courses up as this pilot shortage word has gotten around. I wish the best for those people that are now getting 100k in debt because some college recruiter told them they would be able to sit in the left seat of a 777 within ten years, making more money than they know what to do with. Hopefully they have done their homework and realize that the first 4-5 years they may make <50k while paying off 1k a month in student loan debt.
 

JDean3204

Well-Known Member
#12
Something to also think about is a month or two ago, SkyWest started flying routes for QX. Now, over 50% of the shuttle flights and flights between GEG and PDX/SEA are served by SkyWest on a 50 seat jet. Not only is that making the commute a total pain, but it is also letting us know that SkyWest will be flying those routes for a while to come. SkyWest is ran by some very smart business people, in no way do I think they agreed to just temporarily fill in for QX at the frequency they have. There must be some sort of long term agreement for them to now have 7 plus CRJ200's in Seattle along with the 700's in the AS system. On top of that they are getting 5 more ERJ's on the AS side. QX has 40 FO's in PDX and no one is really moving with the reduction in flying. Last I heard OO had about 70 FO's flying the ERJ for AS out of PDX.
 
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Cazadores

Well-Known Member
#13
^^ This is very true. At the moment regional new hire classes are filled with guys that are in their 40's and 50's that want to try out the career as the pay is now barely liveable. I'm 29, and in my class of 8 at QX I was the youngest. There are young people out of college entering, but not at the same level of the mid life career changers or guys that have returned to "the field".

I've been hearing about colleges now starting to fill their flight courses up as this pilot shortage word has gotten around. I wish the best for those people that are now getting 100k in debt because some college recruiter told them they would be able to sit in the left seat of a 777 within ten years, making more money than they know what to do with. Hopefully they have done their homework and realize that the first 4-5 years they may make <50k while paying off 1k a month in student loan debt.
Which is of course the big scam. A very small handful of regional new hires think their career ends at that level. It's a false economy based on a very big gamble exploited by the industry for years. Take away the chance, no matter how small, of making it to the upper scales at a career destination airline and the regionals would hear nothing but crickets.

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Murdoughnut

Well sized member
#14
The 1,500 hour rule will be dead in less than a year. Airport lobbiests have joined the airlines in an effort to dismantle it, and the airline unions have done a poor job of convincing anyone their support has to do with anything other than creating scarcity to drive up wages.
 

Cóndor

Well-Known Member
#15
The 1,500 hour rule will be dead in less than a year. Airport lobbiests have joined the airlines in an effort to dismantle it, and the airline unions have done a poor job of convincing anyone their support has to do with anything other than creating scarcity to drive up wages.
Highly probable . . . I'm sure airlines would much rather pay insane amounts of money to lobby the "honorables" and pressure them to do something about it (just like with ATC privatization) rather than admitting any type of defeat on the regionals scam front which really is a sad thing to see, especially in these years of windfall profits for them.
 
#16
The 1,500 hour rule will be dead in less than a year. Airport lobbiests have joined the airlines in an effort to dismantle it, and the airline unions have done a poor job of convincing anyone their support has to do with anything other than creating scarcity to drive up wages.
Yeah, politics beats safety every day of the week. Our corporate overlords will never allow the balance of power to shift towards labour.
 
#17
Which is of course the big scam. A very small handful of regional new hires think their career ends at that level. It's a false economy based on a very big gamble exploited by the industry for years. Take away the chance, no matter how small, of making it to the upper scales at a career destination airline and the regionals would hear nothing but crickets.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
Absolutely nailed it.
The 1,500 hour rule will be dead in less than a year. Airport lobbiests have joined the airlines in an effort to dismantle it, and the airline unions have done a poor job of convincing anyone their support has to do with anything other than creating scarcity to drive up wages.
That's fine, actually. It'll be too little, too late. And if scope and the ATP rule allow for an influx of pilots, wages will stagnate/fall and another entire generation will take a pass on becoming airline pilots.
 

thevideographer

Well-Known Member
#18
Lets say people don't need 1500 hours anymore and a good portion of current CFIs go to the regionals - who is going to be left to teach? Won't that drive up the cost of flight training even more as flight schools suddenly have to start paying $50+ an hour to keep people around longer than 6 months?
 

Inverted

“Everything has a little suck in it”
#19
I'm hoping for fellow employees at Horizon, that this isn't a case of "Too little, too late". QX has always been treated as the redheaded stepchild of AAG...constantly told that we "cost too much", "We want you to act like Alaska, but you're really not Alaska...we need another JD Power award", and threatened with "Sign this contract now, or we'll do away with QX and give all the flying to Skywest". Alaska told us they needed us to "cut our cost", then turned around and gave University of Washington $40 Million to put their name on the FIELD at Husky Stadium (not the stadium name, the F-in FIELD).

They hired an absolute MORON who's idea of negotiating was "We do things my way, because I'm the smartest person here...or I'll just shut it down", and wouldn't know the truth if it was bending him over and taking him from behind (good luck with that F9). Tried to cut the training footprint down to the bare minimum...and we've had people waiting a month for IOE, then getting sent back to the sim because they just didn't retain the information.

Now...given all that, Alaska is finally coming around to the idea that Horizon needs major changes and opened up the checkbook. I don't think QX is going anywhere, personally. Horizon still has some of the best people around, and our pilot group is still tops...operating a challenging plane, in a challenging environment and doing cool things with our planes/operation.

Come fly here, I might be the one showing you the ropes ;)
Can't agree with you more. Problem is, I am not sure they will do what it takes to make QX succeed. The internal emails we are getting about them trying to right the ship are great and all, but violating the contract on the 175 was a big middle finger to QX and speaks in spades of AAGs level of commitment to QX. There are a bunch of internal shake ups supposedly, but that doesn't fix the real problems. They need to pay up, pay the pilot group, offer a legit contract, AND they need to finally offer flow to mainline. I also have a feeling that lots of things are hinging on scope with the JCBA. Not that it will change flying a whole lot necessarily but the way it gets worded will depend on whether those shiny new Skywest routes and bases stick around or not.
 

Richman

Well-Known Member
#20
Lets say people don't need 1500 hours anymore and a good portion of current CFIs go to the regionals - who is going to be left to teach? Won't that drive up the cost of flight training even more as flight schools suddenly have to start paying $50+ an hour to keep people around longer than 6 months?
This. Getting rid of the 1500 rule at this point solves nothing. People are still not going to get involved two reasons:

1) Pilot compensation/benefits back in the day was what it was for a reason. That's what was required to fill the seats with smart, motivated people. While some recovery has happened, the overall compensation package over a 30 year career still is way behind where it was, and that's not even figuring inflation, degradation in work rules, increases in hassle factor, and well known industry instability. The number of people in the business who will tolerate the current conditions are timing out, and there are better opportunities for younger people without the draconian restrictions that come on the social life (very important to the younger peeps).

2) The barrier of entry (IE costs) is way too high. $12k took you zero to hero in 1990, and that's about $25k in today's dollars if you throw in room and board. But the actual cost today is over $60k, all due to the increased costs in the GA industry. The regionals benefitted for decades from a cheap training pipeline due to the robust GA segment. After 9/11, insurance went to the moon on anything GA related and never came back down for commercial operators. The fleet is slowly attriting with no real viable replacement. No one is even talking about this problem.