United Airlines ending all Westchester County Airport service on July 1
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- United Airlines is scrapping flights to and from Westchester County Airport.
The airline is suspending the service on July 1 because of a shortage of planes and pilots, it said.
"Since we have a limited number of regional jets and pilots to fly them ... we regularly evaluate how best to use those resources," said a statement from United.
There's no shortage of passengers, however. Most will have to shift to LaGuardia.
"I will be tough. We'll have to fly into New York now and fight the commute all the way up to Connecticut. But I'll do what I have to do," said Jason Beckwith, a frequent flyer.
Rory Heilakka, with Oliver Wyman Consulting, said airlines face a shortfall of more than 15,000 pilots over the next 10 years.
"Regional pilots are being poached, for lack of a better word, into larger operations. So we've seen the amount of regional flying, the 50 to 76-seat aircraft come down substantially versus 2019. That's both because the payrates have gone up, so operating the aircraft is more expensive, and also because there are fewer pilots to fly them," said Heilakka.
That's one reason United started its own flight school - to train pilots and diversify its ranks by recruiting more women and minorities.
The industry is pushing a number of measures to help students cover the six-figure cost of pilot training.
"We support use of 529 plans for flight training and the G.I. Bill for private pilot licenses. Pilots are high earners. Helping people to fund training is the right thing to do and it's sound economic policy," said Faye Malarkey Black, president of the Regional Airlines Association.
The Regional Airline Association says its members have 500 commercial aircraft grounded with no pilots to fly them.
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