Transportation & Logistics International - Winter 2017 - 26
// CEO and President Lyle Hogg says that
being part of the American Airlines network
benefits both customers and pilots.
armed forces. The lack of new talent
coming into the industry ultimately led
to today's pilot shortage, Hogg says.
Meanwhile, aircraft maker Boeing
projects that the industry will require
617,000 more commercial airline pilots
by 2035. "Back when I started as a pilot of
US Air [in 1984], pilot jobs were difficult
to come by," he adds. "It was a real success to get noticed and hired by a major
carrier - or a regional carrier for that
matter. Now we are thirsting for pilots."
Piedmont is taking a number of
measures to counteract that industry
trend and recruit more pilots. The
company offers a $15,000 signing bonus for new pilot hires, and tacks on an
additional $5,000 for pilots who have
previous airline experience. The signing bonus is in addition to an increase
in salary for first-year pilots.
TLIMAGAZINE.COM WINTER 2017
On the talent development side,
Piedmont is encouraging more students
to take advantage of an in-house cadet
program that provides tuition reimbursement for young flight instructors
at aviation universities.
The suite of incentives has boosted
Piedmont's hiring numbers to between
25 and 28 new pilots a month. Hogg is
aiming higher, however, and says 30 to
40 new pilots each month would be ideal. The entire company employed about
500 pilots at of the end of 2016.
The American Way
Piedmont Airlines' roots go back to
1962, when Henson Aviation began
scheduled passenger service in Hagerstown, Md. Following a dispute with
local politicians, the company moved
its base to Salisbury, Md., and it became
a feeder airline for Allegheny Airlines.
Henson expanded service throughout
the 1970s, and began building a name
among larger operators.
In 1983, the original Piedmont
Aviation purchased Henson, expanding the carrier's network from Canada
south to Florida. Six years later, US
Air - which later became US Airways -
acquired Piedmont. In 1994 the parent
company renamed Henson to Piedmont Airlines to prevent competitors
from taking the name and feeding off
the Piedmont brand.
Mergers are a natural occurrence in
the airline industry. Piedmont stayed
within the US Airways brand for nearly
20 years until US Airways merged with
American Airlines in 2013 to create the
world's largest airline. The company
joined Ohio's PSA Airlines and Texas'