Airlines' hiring push could impact number of pilots serving in military

A Rand Corp. study has found the US Air Force could lose more pilots in coming years amid a hiring surge and salary increases by the nation´s largest airlines, the company said.

The company said military pilots are a likely target as American, Delta and United all boost pilot hiring during the next 20 years to replace their aging workforces, the California-based military issues think tank said in a study.

An Air Force spokesperson said pilot retention in the Air Force has declined for three consecutive years and resulted in a shortage of qualified pilots, which is most acute for fighter aircraft. As a result, the Air Force is putting into practice recommendations that include making deployments more efficient, adding administrative support in flying squadrons, adding maintenance staff to improve aircraft and increasing assignment flexibility. The Air Force has also asked Congress to increase all aviation retention pay.

Rand Corp. released findings from its study “Retaining Air Force Pilots When the Civilian Demand for Pilots is Growing.”