Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Fischer Introduce Legislation to Study Pilot Shortages, Impact on Regional Airlines

May 19, 2023

Rural airports across Colorado, including in Pueblo, Alamosa, and Grand Junction, have recently seen reduced regional airline service

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Deb Fischer introduced the Sustain Regional Air Travel Act, which requires the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to issue a report on the extent and the effect of the current pilot shortage on regional carriers.

“Pilot shortages affect everyone’s air travel, but rural communities are often the first ones to take the hit. This is the first step in improving reliable air service to our smaller airports so local economies can continue to thrive,” said Hickenlooper.

“The ongoing pilot shortage is causing flight cancellations and service reductions across our country, and Essential Air Service airports here in Nebraska are being hit the hardest. Our legislation is a commonsense approach that would help identify more solutions to these challenges so the flying public doesn’t continue to lose access to such an essential mode of transportation,” said Fischer.

The aviation industry has endured a series of challenges over the past few years, with pilot workforce shortages being one of the most common. Regional air carriers, including those who offer Essential Air Service (EAS), have cited pilot staffing shortages as the reason for terminating service to select markets. Currently, there is a lack of data identifying which factors are contributing to this shortage. The Sustain Regional Air Travel Act would direct the GAO to examine the extent and effect of the pilot shortage on regional carriers and issue a report to Congress outlining the issue.

After Delta Airlines discontinued service on its flight to Grand Junction Regional Airport from its hub in Salt Lake City citing the growing pilot shortage, Hickenlooper pushed Delta executives to maintain service to Grand Junction in a hearing.

Full text of the bill is available HERE.


Recent Press Releases