Pilot Shortages Bad News for Passengers

About 18,100 openings for airline and commercial pilots are projected

Close up tracking shot of plane coming into land with blue cloudscape behind.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Several factors affect flight prices, including fuel costs, demand and personnel. Currently, the airline industry is experiencing a shortage of around 30,000 commercial pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers, which is contributing to airline delays and raising the cost of flights. 

While the pilot shortage has been an ongoing issue for several years, it was exacerbated by the substantial decline in travel during the pandemic. To contend with falling demand, airlines encouraged pilots to retire early. However, travel has soared this summer, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. As a result, many U.S. airlines lack adequate personnel, which has resulted in canceled and delayed flights. 

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Erin Bendig
Personal Finance Writer

Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.