10 JANUARY 2022
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United Airlines is temporarily dropping 15 regional routes and shifting some services to New York Newark from March 2022, amid a serious pilot shortage in the United States.
This comes after Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby explained to a recent US Senate that United, and its regional partners flying under the United Express brand, had almost 100 aircraft grounded at present because of the aircrew shortage in the US, which had been looming for the last decade but had now become a concerning reality.
“Which means, we just can't at the moment fly to all the small communities that we would like to. It's really about not having enough pilots," Kirby said. "I'm a little less optimistic that that situation is going to reverse itself in the near term unless we do something to increase the supply of pilots. I expect it's going to get worse before it gets better,” he said.
Kirby pointed to the controversial and costly 1,500-hour rule – which requires US airline pilots to have 1,500 hours of flight time prior to being certified – as an impediment to regional airlines being able to hire pilots, contributing to the current shortage.
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