Cape Air Cuts Back On Flights Following Pilot Shortage

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CAPE COD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The nationwide pilot shortage in the United States is taking its toll on major airlines, and now regional airlines are feeling the impact.

Cape Air has announced they will be reducing the number of their flights serviced between Cape Cod and Nantucket, forcing the airline to run that route on a Monday through Thursday schedule.

"There is an industry-wide pilot shortage, and we just don't have enough pilots to fly our schedule, so we had to pull down some of flying that we had currently out for sale, and that included Hyannis to Nantucket," CEO of Cape Air Linda Markham told WBZ's Tim Dunn.

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The decrease means Cape Air will offer that route with just one to three flights a day, down from its current six a day availability. Markham says there are several reasons for why there's a shortage of pilots.

"The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that pilots retire at age 65, there's fewer pilots leaving the military, and there's high cost and lengthy training. The Covid pandemic really exasperated the shortage because so many of the airlines offered early retirement and did furloughs, and those pilots are not coming back," Markham said.

The scheduling changes are expected to take effect for Cape Air around mid-June of this year, with no indication how long the abbreviated service will be in place.

WBZ's Tim Dunn (@ConsiderMeDunn) reports.

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