Regional airlines are finding it difficult to fill their pilot hiring requirements, as a shortage of qualified applications because of a change in a federal rule that raised the minimum number of flight hours for an entry-level first officer from 250 to 1,500 hours, a 500% increase. Of course, without enough pilots, regional airlines cannot operate optimally. Republic Airways has grounded 27 aircraft due to a shortage of pilots, more regional airlines are likely to follow.
There are a number of factors that lead to the pilot shortage, but the single factor that most exacerbated the change is the regulatory change. This law alters the economics and mechanisms of flight training through which most entry-level pilots enter the business.