Leaders at Peoria International Airport say, back in 2008, there was no pilot shortage, and more than 15 airlines were available for service.
Now, fast forward to 2018, four major airlines control most of the plane traffic. Increased requirements and pressure on airline pilots are causing less people to choose pilot as a career.
“Congress passed a law almost 10 years ago now, where they basically doubled the flight time it takes to become an airline pilot,” remarked Gene Olson, Director of Airports.
The consensus at Monday’s air service meeting was despite the shortage, Peoria is still doing better than its peer around the region.
“Our enplanements are up,” Olson said. “I think we set five monthly records this year, and we’ve also set the highest record for the highest monthly total passengers we’ve ever had.”
Olson says people have a perception that flying from Chicago is more reliable, when in reality, it’s not.
Director of Airports, Gene Olson, said, “I think we have slightly over one percent of our flights get canceled, so the perception is much greater than the reality of flights getting canceled to Peoria.”
President of Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Jeff Griffin, encourages area businesses to keep flying from Peoria.
“We can confidently say we have the destination points that businesses here need, and we are in very close contact continuously with our larger employees here, hospitals, universities to make sure that the right flights are in place for them,” said Griffin.
Officials say the best solution for keeping business in Peoria is being aware of what you’re paying for and checking costs of other airports.