Some U.S. Airlines Using Buses for Shorter Routes

Multiple US airlines have switched planes for buses on some shorter itineraries due to a severe shortage of personnel.

Several airlines, including American Airlines, have contracted with bus firms to transport passengers over short distances.

People will be shuttled between Philadelphia and a number of other airports that are only a short flight away.

The bus firm Landline will begin service on June 3 between Philadelphia International Airport and the airports in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Meanwhile, United is providing one-stop service to both Fort Collins and Breckenridge, with four daily buses to the former and only one to the latter departing from Denver.

The bus services are being offered as a result of a pilot scarcity in the United States, which is driving airlines to expand training programs and even hire pilots from other countries.

Breeze Airways, a low-cost carrier, and SkyWest, a regional airline, are both looking for international pilots from Australia to help them expand their workforce.

In order to attract and retain pilots, the industry is also increasing wages.

According to government labor data, an average of 14,500 new pilots will be hired each year until 2030.

‘The pilot shortage for the industry is real and most airlines are simply not going to be able to realize their capacity plans because there simply aren’t enough pilots, at least not for the next five-plus years,’ Scott Kirby, chief executive officer of United Airlines said last week during a conference call. ‘Despite growing domestic travel demand, it will certainly require United to keep 150 regional planes parked,’ he said.

Instead of mentioning the pilot shortage, Landline and American promoted the bus service as “an easier method” to get between the Philadelphia airport and Lehigh International Airport in Allentown, 73 miles distant, and Atlantic City International Airport, 56 miles away.

Customers will be able to connect to American’s international flights from Philadelphia, according to Brian Znotins, vice president of network planning.

American Eagle, the airline’s regional affiliate, flies from Allentown to Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina. The airline from Fort Worth does not fly to Atlantic City.

Similar agreements exist between Landline, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, and United Airlines in Denver and Sun Country Airlines in seven Minnesota and Wisconsin locations.

The company raised $28 million to increase its regional reach, according to the company.

Even before the pandemic, airlines were experiencing pilot shortages.

Thousands of pilots were furloughed or retired early as a result of the Covid disaster.

According to Bloomberg, the sector struggled to recover when travel began, and airlines are now unable to locate enough skilled employees to completely reinstall route maps.

‘This is going to be one of the biggest constraints for the industry going forward,’ Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said last week.

Summer 2022 is expected to be a big boon to the travel business, according to airlines.

Although the number of tickets sold in February for travel between June and August of this year was only down 3% from February 2019, carriers have reduced their schedules in comparison to pre-pandemic seasons.

Summer 2021 saw a 16 percent decrease in scheduled flights compared to summer 2019.

United Airlines expects a 13 percent drop in flights this year compared to 2019, while Delta Air Lines expects a 16 percent drop. American will be down roughly 8%, while Alaska will be down 9%. JetBlue has reduced the number of summer flights by 10%.

This piece was written by Staff Writer on April 26, 2022. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.


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