Saturday, May 9, 2009

US regional airlines under scrutiny

This is a short (6 minute) video discussing fatigue in the United States regional airline industry. One day regional pilots will have more than 8 hours to leave a cockpit, walk thru an airport, wait for a van, ride to the hotel, try to sleep, get back in the van, drive to the airport, walk thru the airport and leave. All in just 8 hours. It will likely be blood legislation sadly.


  1. Interesting vid. As a person who works in a profession with a highly irregular sleep/work schedule and requires rather fast and sound descisions, I agree whole heartedly that the scheduling and rest requirements need to be looked at.

    For one thing, some of your time off periods assume that you are going to be able to go to sleep just because it is time to do so. That isn't the way it works. An unusally stimulating arrival/approach may interfere with your ability to get to sleep when you get to the hotel. Compound that with a different time zone, a different point in your sleep cycle and the group of 7th graders staying in the room above you, it doesn't provide a very restful experience.

    The problem with your gig (as in mine) is that its a desirable job. One that is worth paying your dues for a long time to earn a job in something with more than 76 seats. As long as people are willing to do it for 25K a year, the right seats are going to be filled. I get it, I do. I did my job for free for almost two years to build my resume. I am getting the payoff now.

    What is the solution? Legislate longer rest periods may help. As far as the pay thing, I really don't have a clue. I would like to see a situation where the regional system is a career path that can provide a good living for the people who fly in it.

    Its not like the old days where the mainliners were flying jets and the regionals were flying old Convair 440s, martin 404s etc. The equipment you fly are just as fast, fly just as high and are just as sophisticated as the majors. Sometimes even more so.

    I hope it improves, I just don't know how. Good luck
    Bob M.

  2. I don't buy that low time pilots are not as capable of a safe flight as more experienced. However more experience is important. I believe the low pay coupled with the many hours of a physically and mentally demanding job comprimises safety.

    I can't imagine a solution to the low pay since regionals bring in less revenue per flight than a major with a bigger jet. But if the industry was more regulated, then maybe fewer regionals will fillup more seats instead of having 3-4 airlines flying the same route at half or less capacity.


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