It looks like a poorly thought out Federal regulation could lead to increases in flight prices over the next few years. The Wall Street Journal reports that a new requirement that commercial airline pilots undergo 1500 hours of training will likely help create a pilot shortage by the time of its implementation in 2014. This will, of course, require airlines to pay out higher wages in order to deal with the depressed supply of qualified pilots.
What’s particularly troubling about the regulation is that it would appear to be completely unnecessary. There’s no evidence that any recent crashes have resulted from a lack of hours in pilot training. Indeed, one line of argument suggests that this could actually result in weaker pilot safety standards. Since the regulation will require all pilots to meet an arbitrary 1500 hour requirement, it will lessen the pool of qualified pilots, therefore potentially requiring the airlines to take more risks on pilots that might not have as good safety records, but do meet the arbitrary government requirements.
This is yet another example of Federal regulation that could end with the completely opposite result as the one intended.