DALLAS – Indianapolis-based Republic Airways (YX) has been denied its controversial request to allow some of its newer flight crew to obtain their pilot’s licenses with just 750 flying hours.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is sticking to its 2013 ruling, which requires airline pilots to have 1,500 flying hours.
Republic made the exemption request in April to alleviate the shortage of qualified pilots. YX claims that the rule has only worsened the pilot shortage, leading to many flights being canceled.
The airline had hoped that a change in ruling would have allowed graduates from its pilot training program to apply for a restricted airline transport pilot certificate with the same reduced flying experience as military or ex-military pilots.
However, in a statement, the FAA said that after looking into YX’s proposals, they had “determined that the airline’s new training program does not provide an equivalent level of safety as the regulation requiring 1,500 hours of flight experience before a pilot may work for an airline.”
Republic operates a fleet of over 200 Embraer E170 and E175 aircraft on over 1,000 regional services per day for American Airlines (AA), Delta Air lines (DL), and Unites Airlines (UA).
A spokesperson for the FAA added, “The FAA supports the regulatory requirements that are in place to facilitate the qualification of pilots, and the FAA maintains that the exemption process is not the correct avenue to change the current manner of pilot preparation.”
Several pilot unions had opposed the move. Air Line Pilots Association President Captain Joe DePete said the decision was a “huge win for aviation safety and for the flying public.”
“The FAA’s findings confirm what we’ve said all along about Republic’s request — that it is not in the public interest and would adversely affect safety,” he continued. “Additionally, in its official petition denial, the FAA affirmed its support for the regulatory requirements that are in place to facilitate the qualification of pilots — the aviation safety law that has reduced aviation fatalities by 99.8% since its implementation.”
Republic CEO Bryan Bedford said the airline was “disappointed – but not surprised – that our petition to the FAA was not met with the review and engagement it deserves.”
Featured Image: Republic Airways Embraer E175LR (N704YX). Photo: Matthew Calise/Airways