EKU could be key training ground for industry facing significant shortage
RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Eastern Kentucky University could be a key training ground for an industry desperately needing new help.
Thousands of airline pilots are retiring; some fear a significant shortage in the next 15 years.
Students can go through a program to fly regional jets. Those are the type of jets that typically fly out of Lexington’s airport. EKU has seen its aviation program double, almost triple, in the last three to four years.
Dennis Sinnett is the director of EKU’s Center for Aviation and says the airline industry is losing thousands of pilots each year, primarily to retirement.
The FAA is considering raising the retirement age to 67, but nothing has been accomplished so far. EKU is trying to meet the demand for new pilots to replace many retiring ones.
“We take a student 18, 17 or 18 never before flown a day; we get them all the way through. In four years, all the FAA certifications necessary from private to instrument to commercial,” Sinnett said.
Sinnett says regional pilots are quickly being moved up to fly larger jets, which has left many vacancies at the smaller airports that EKU graduates can fill.
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