Major airlines interview on a competitive basis. Even if a pilot meets the minimum application requirements for a position, he or she does not necessarily meet the competitive minimums for the position. Competitive minimums are what you must meet to be considered for an interview…and they are dropping at all airlines as the pilot shortage grows in intensity. The major airlines still have plenty of pilots to choose from, but over the next 18-24 months, we will see the greatest changes in competitive minimums as the pool of pilot applicants changes significantly at the major airline level.
All of this is great news for YOU! The tables are turning in pilot hiring. Supply and demand has been in favor of the major airlines over the past decade. The shortage hasn’t really affected them much. They may not be able to interview only pilots with a Master’s Degree and over 3,000 hours of turbine PIC like they could in 2015, but they are still interviewing well above their application minimums for most categories of pilots. The application pools are dwindling, and we expect them to rapidly evaporate over the next couple of years, though. Sure, the majors will continue to have new pilots submitting their applications daily as long as there are pilots separating from the military and flying at regional airlines, but the margin between the application minimums and competitive minimums will eventually disappear. This does not mean the major airlines will hire everyone who applies. They may interview everyone who applies, but they will likely tighten up their interview process as the experience level of the pilots interviewing drops. We will see airlines create more aptitude, cognitive, personality, and technical assessments as well as case or situational-based interviews. Our parent company is in high demand for creating these types of interviews and testing software and expects this to be a primary focus for the major airlines over the next two years. When hiring pilots, major airlines don’t have to be as thorough or hard on an astronaut-level experienced pilot as they would need to be on a pilot who just barely meets the minimums.