A shortage of pilots has forced Republic Airways to file for bankruptcy protection
Republic Airways is a smaller region jet operator that connects flights for United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines.
Lately, the company has been forced to ground numerous flights because it couldn’t find qualified pilots to fly its planes.
The airline filed for bankruptcy in New York on Thursday.
“We worked hard to avoid this step,” said CEO Bryan Bedford.
The airline plans to continue normal operations during the reorganization.
Republic has a fleet of about 240 regional jets and operates about 1,250 flights a day to about 100 cities in the US and Canada.
The airline flies under the names American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express. 2,100 of its 6,000 employees are pilots.
The airline is facing a lawsuit from Delta, charging it with breach of contract for failing to operate all of the flights it had contracted to fly.
Regional carriers operate 45% of domestic flights and are the sole flight providers to many smaller regional airports.
Republic Airways is now offering new pilots $40 an hour plus a $7,500 signing bonus in the hopes of landing new employees.
The company’s shares are down 70.33% as of 2:59 PM EST.
However, the company is still faced with the fact that regional pilots typically only fly about 1,000 hours a year, making $40 an hour a fraction of what they can earn with a bigger carrier.
The airline is also being hit with the reality that new rules require regional pilots to have 1,500 hours of flying experience, up from 250 hours in previous years.