CAPA responds to CBS News report of pilot shortages: video included

A CBS news story this morning addresses an issue of pilot shortages due to a few factors such as the mandatory retirement age and the minimum flight requirements. You can watch the video here, as CBS News' aviation and safety expert Capt. Sullenberger and CBS travel editor Peter Greenberg report, and their opinions support our position.

Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, CBS News' aviation and safety expert weighed in on "CBS This Morning" on Monday.

"This strikes me as a cynical effort on the part of some in the industry to cry wolf and use scare tactics in an intent to influence the (Federal Aviation Administration) when they write the final rule on pilot experience to weaken it, and this pilot experience requirement is one that's mandated by the Congress," Sullenberger said.

Sullenberger said the new pilot measures were voted upon with unanimous results in the House and Senate. "(It's an) amazing accomplishment in this political environment -- to solve problems in the regional airline industry that have been the result of a dozen years of crashes taking needless lives," he said.

Both support the minimum rules, and the one level of safety that CAPA stands for.

CAPA's Executive Vice President Captain Lee Collins responds below:

"Airlines must stop their constant assault upon the Airline Piloting Profession if they want to attract quality pilots and qualified applicants.  This is a manufactured crisis by Airline managements to try and coerce the FAA and other government regulators that a real and present danger exists.  There is none.

As always when the airlines promote a viable, stable and attractive career path,  pilots have historically been willing to join the ranks.  However, when airlines continue to lower pay and benefits, reduce if not completely eliminate retirement plans and other similar career expectations, then quality individuals look elsewhere for employment.  This time is no different.  The airlines have had more than five years to plan for this coming time, during which they have done nothing to create an attractive career path for new pilots or members of the military, looking to begin a civilian career.

The time is now for America's corporate airline management teams to stop making excuses, and step up to the plate,  and lead as their titles and positions expect they should do.

At Southwest Airlines, UPS Airlines and FedEx Airlines, the best and highest paid airline pilots in America with a solid career progression and the highest most professional pilot cadre: there are waiting lists of literally thousands wanting to work as new entry level pilots at these airlines.  This is the very best evidence that supports our claim.  If you want the best and most qualified pilots, and an abundance of applicants (no shortages), then give them a reason to come."

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg added that airlines can and will meet these requirements.

"You can't create a crisis and say 'it's an economic impact, we're going to have a problem' when you've known about it for a long time. And the rules that are in place -- and I think Sully would agree -- are minimum rules. We're just starting this. If you see what the actual requirements were for hours of pilot experience prior to this, they were laughable. We're at a better level now, but it's still not where we need to be."