What You Should Know About Regional Jet Pilot Jobs

CEO Tam DT
Regional airlines often use sleek images of new jets in their hiring ads to appeal to aspiring pilots. These jets have brought significant change to the industry, impacting pilot jobs. In this article, we will...

Envoy Air Embraer E-175

Regional airlines often use sleek images of new jets in their hiring ads to appeal to aspiring pilots. These jets have brought significant change to the industry, impacting pilot jobs. In this article, we will explore regional jets, their history, and their influence on the pilot hiring system.

In a Class Of Its Own

After airline deregulation in 1978, the opportunity arose for airlines to connect previously underserved city pairs. Turboprop aircraft were initially used for this purpose, but they were not suitable for longer routes and smaller communities. That's when regional jets came into play.

Early regional jets like the Fokker F28 and BAC One-Eleven paved the way for the Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ), introduced in 1992. The CRJ-100 filled the gap between turboprops and existing single-aisle jets, revolutionizing the airline industry in the United States.

Regional Jets Get Bigger

Bombardier and Embraer introduced larger regional jets like the CRJ-700 and E-Jet family, offering more seats and improved collaboration for production. These larger airplanes provided increased revenue per available seat mile (RASM), but also led to higher costs compared to smaller regional jets.

United States Airlines Narrowbody Fleets by Year

Regional Jet Economics

Cost per available seat mile (CASM) is a crucial metric for airlines. Before 2001, customers were less price-sensitive, but innovations in the industry made them more cost-conscious. This led legacy carriers to focus on reducing CASM, resulting in the outsourcing of regional operations to smaller jets.

Despite the higher CASM of regional jets, the revenue generated in regional operations justifies their increased cost. However, carriers with large outsourced regional jet operations face challenges when fuel prices spike or during economic downturns.

Pilot Scope Clauses

Pilot scope clauses define which work will be performed by represented pilots and where outsourcing is allowed. With the rise of regional jets, scope clause battles between pilot unions and employers emerged. Factors like negotiation leverage, size limitations, and misalignment of scope can influence the industry landscape and shift employment opportunities.

Regional Jet Proliferation

After initial resistance, regional jets gained popularity. However, pilot unions fought to regain lost work, leading to the adoption of standard scope protections by major airlines. The industry now limits outsourcing to airplanes with 76 seats or less and specific weight restrictions, putting a cap on the range capabilities of regional jets.

New Regional Jets

The Embraer E-Jet E2 family offers improved fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs. Bombardier has updated its CRJ series with aerodynamic improvements and enhanced passenger cabins. The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) family faced challenges due to scope limitations but continues to attract interest in the regional airline market.

Regional Jet Pilot Pay

Regional jet pilot pay is lower compared to flying narrow body airplanes for major airlines. Regional airline positions are often seen as a stepping stone in a pilot's career. However, experienced regional jet pilots can find higher-paying contract positions overseas.

Chart of Regional Jet Captain Pay

US Airlines Regional Jet Fleets

Major US airlines operate Bombardier and Embraer regional jets, with ongoing orders for new aircraft.

Understanding regional jet pilot jobs involves recognizing the impact of regional jets on the airline industry and the challenges faced by pilots in scope negotiations. Despite the lower pay, regional airline positions serve as a valuable stepping stone for aspiring pilots on their path to success.

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