With the pilot shortage already hitting many airlines, U.S. flight schools are busy, with ATP placing a new large order for Cessna Skyhawks.
We have seen how complications like the existence of mainline Vs regional carriers, plus the need for 1,500 hours for new airline pilots are complicating the U.S. pilot shortage. But solving the problem requires more pilots, which means that flight schools are getting busy.
At the moment, ATP has a fleet of 528 aircraft of all shapes and sizes, including of course the Cessna 172. The company is the largest flight training organization in the United States, with activities at 82 different training centers. The group currently has over 200 Skyhawks in its fleet.
Its production started back in 1955, but the 172 doesn’t seem to be falling out of favor with training organizations just yet. Last October, ATP placed an order for 55 Cessna Skyhawks. Deliveries of these aircraft should start in the next three months. The latest order for 40 aircraft should start arriving at ATP’s training centers starting in 2025.
ATP Enlarging its Cessna Fleet
Michael Arnold, vice president of Marketing for ATP Flight School, said this about the company’s latest Cessna order:
“With 95 Skyhawks on order, ATP is committed to providing students with unparalleled access to a modern and advanced fleet, so they can achieve their airline career goals on the fastest timeline possible.
“ATP’s nationwide fleet operates over a half million flight hours annually, with the oversight and support from ATP’s safety, maintenance, and flight operations quality assurance teams. The Skyhawk’s proven dispatch reliability and effectiveness as a trainer is crucial in meeting this mission and delivering industry-leading training.”
In total, ATP expects to take delivery of 85 Cessna 172s and other training aircraft in the rest of 2023 and in 2024. Of its current fleet, 78 aircraft arrived new in the last two years. Like many other training organizations, ATP offers an Airline Career Pilot Program.
Usually, the aviation industry is among the first to suffer from a broader economic downturn. Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case currently. But many in the industry see shortages in staff, going beyond pilots. Shortages in engineering and other jobs at airlines, airports, and aircraft manufacturing, are troubling analysts.