The Empty Sky Above

By William Fey


The roaring sky above the US is becoming an empty highway.

American airline carriers: Fords that pilots want to trade in for a shiny Mercedes. By providing them with higher paychecks and benefits, foreign airlines can easily poach U.S. pilots.

The US is experiencing a big pilot shortage for commercial airlines. This dreadfulness would cause airlines to cancel or delay flights due to a lack of pilots. US airlines need to increase their pilot’s salary and benefits, so they would gain pilot applications and serve the customers better.

Pilots leave the US for international carriers due to inferior pay checks. Let’s compare two giants, Delta and Emirates. Delta pays $68,000 to its first officers, while Emirates pays $98,421. Working for Emirates is a thriving option for pilots. If the US carriers wish to gain more quality pilots, they better open their wallets.

Let’s put the two giants side by side again and see what benefits they hand out to their pilots.  

Delta and Emirates both give away  insurance, discounts on airfares, and paid vacations to their pilots. However, Emirates also provides their pilots with a driver, company uniform, and housing allowance. While the two carriers provide their pilots paid vacation, Emirates gives 42 days and Delta gives 17 days. If the US carriers desires greater pilots, better benefits should be offered to the them.

Skies above the US show signs of high pilot shortage across the US. US commercial aviation needs to focus on improving their service for pilots and customers, in order to gain their pilots back from foreign carriers. The US carriers should learn from their international opponents or fall prey to them, by losing their valuable pilots.


Works Cited

  1. Pilot shortage no longer flying under the radar
  2. The Pilot Shortage
  3. Marty Reynolds. “Small Airports Could Soon Be Doomed Thanks to America’s Growing Pilot Shortage.” Fortune, 16 Oct. 2017,
  4. Emirates. “Crew Benefits .” Emirates Group Careers,
  5. Delta Airlines, N/A. “Search All Jobs.” Delta – Benefits, 0AD,
  6. Sandy Murdock. “Republic Airlines Relationships With Schools.” JDA Commercial Aviation Journal, 29 Nov. 2017,
  7. Gary Leff. “Why Can’t US Airlines Provide Great Service Like the Asian Carriers Do?” View from the Wing, 12 Apr. 2013,

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