RAA Press

RAA Issues First Quarter 2024 Workforce Report

Washington, DC, April 18, 2024. Media contact: 

The Regional Airline Association (RAA), which represents 16 U.S. airlines that collectively offer the only source of air service to more than two-thirds of the nation’s airports, announced its first quarter workforce report today. RAA President & CEO Faye Malarkey Black offered this statement about the report:

“Let me be very clear: an abrupt, temporary hiring disruption – driven entirely by an abrupt, aircraft delivery disruption – is not the same thing as fixing the pilot shortage. Despite misleading reports to the contrary, the pilot shortage has not been fixed and if we do not act now to address the pilot shortage, small communities will continue to feel its impact. 

Despite the temporary slowdown, large airline hiring in the first quarter of 2024 outpaced the supply of new pilots and the pilot supply/demand balance will rapidly worsen as large carrier aircraft deliveries recover. While new pilot certifications vary from month to month, the pipeline has moderated from post-pandemic highs. Meanwhile, pilot retirements will skyrocket over the next five years – reaching a peak in 2029, when 57 percent more qualified Air Transport Pilots will reach mandatory retirement age compared with 2024. Retirements will then stay at or near peak for more than a decade. We must address the pilot shortage to be prepared when mainline aircraft deliveries resume amidst escalating retirements.

Failing to act will undermine the efforts of hundreds of communities across the country that are trying to build back air service from the pandemic. Comparing January 2024 with January 2020 departures, 317 airports (74 %) have lost an average of 25% of their flights. During the same time, 12 airports lost all commercial service, 37 airports lost more than half their flights, and large carriers have exited more than 121 markets.

Today’s pilot pool is not just shallow; it lacks diversity. Fewer than 10% of today’s pilots are women or people of color. Using a lull in attrition as an excuse to discourage policies to improve career access and training would shortsighted and harmful.

We urge all stakeholders to reject cynical ploys to barricade this transformative career and instead to take every needed step to strengthen pilot training, career access, and retention.”  

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About RAA  
The Regional Airline Association (RAA) provides a unified voice of advocacy for North American regional airlines aimed at promoting a safe, reliable, and strong regional airline industry. RAA serves as an important support network connecting regional airlines and industry business partners. Regional airlines operate 35% of U.S. scheduled passenger flights and provide the only source of scheduled air service to 64% of the nation’s airports. Regional airlines provide more than 70% of the air service in Alabama (72%), Alaska (88%), Arkansas (75%), Maine (72%), North Dakota (87%), South Dakota (75%), Vermont (77%), West Virginia (92%) and Wyoming (73%). Regional airlines provide more than half of the air service in Idaho (70%), Indiana (56%), Iowa (63%), Kansas (69%), Kentucky (58%), Mississippi (68%), Montana (65%), Nebraska (53%), New Hampshire (58%), and Rhode Island (58%).

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