Republic requests an exemption to the 1,500 flight hours rule: weekly trip

Regional carrier Republic Airways has asked DOT to grant it an exception to the 2013 rule that requires pilots to log 1,500 hours of flight time before flying for a commercial airline.

In an April 14 request to the DOT, Republic, which operates flights marketed by American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express in partnership with the Big Three U.S. airlines, is scheduled to take part in the airline’s Lift Academy pilot training school. eligible to fly for the airline after completing 750 hours in the cabin.

If approved, Lift Academy’s ATP program would be the first non-military or non-academic flight training program to receive relief from the 1,500-hour rule. That rule requires 1,500 hours by default, but under current regulations, graduates of four-year college pilot training academies can become commercial airline co-pilots with 1,000 hours of flight time, while graduates of college training programs Two-year flight attendants can become co-pilots for commercial airlines. a commercial pilot with 1,250 flight hours. Republic’s waiver requests match the consideration given to military pilots-in-training, who become eligible for a passenger seat on a commercial airline after 750 hours.

In its DOT application, first reported on by Flight Global, Republic argued that the rigorous curriculum and structure of its proposed training program would exceed military training program safety standards.

Why Republic wants the exemption

Republic’s request coincides with an acute pilot shortage in the US, which has led to rapid turnover at regional airlines as pilots are hired by higher-paying major carriers. The shortage has also caused American, Delta and United to back off regional jet routes that operate alongside carriers like Republic.

However, in its request, Republic did not mention the shortage of pilots. Instead, he cited as public benefits the opportunity to make a dent in the shortage of women and minority American commercial airline pilots and reduce the cost of obtaining an ATP certificate. Only 9% of ATP certificate holders are women, the company said, while certification can cost more than $200,000 in some cases.

“The industry’s slow progress toward diversifying cabin participation calls for a renewed industry-wide commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is clearly a broken pipeline,” the application read.

A controversial proposal

Other regional airlines have stepped up efforts to ease the 1,500-hour rule. Before its creation, pilots could fly as a co-pilot on a regional flight with only 250 hours of flight time.

But efforts to weaken or reverse the 1,500-hour rule are sure to be controversial. The rule was implemented in response to the 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 near Buffalo, New York, which killed all 49 passengers and crew, as well as one person on the ground.

Since then, the rule has received strong support from the Air Line Pilots Association, family members of Colgan crash victims and lawmakers from both parties, who argue it has made flying on US airlines safer.

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