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FAA rejects Republic Airways' request to reduce co-pilot training hours

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported Monday that it had denied a request by Republic Airways to allow the regional airline to reduce the number of hours needed to become a co-pilot. The FAA said it disagreed with the airline's argument for allowing only 750 hours of flight experience instead of 1,500 hours, Reuters reported. Indiana-based Republic Airways had applied for a waiver that would allow graduates of its pilot training program to apply for a restricted airline transport pilot certificate with the same reduced aviation experience as military or ex-military pilots. The airline flies nearly 1,000 daily flights to 100 cities in 40 US states and operates with major airline partner brands: American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express. The FAA said the airline's new training program does not provide a level of safety equivalent to the regulation that requires 1,500 hours of flight experience before a pilot can work for a company. Some regional airlines say they face a pilot shortage and can't find enough qualified airmen to meet demand. Several unions had opposed Republic Airways' request, with some arguing that cutting flight hours and relaxing rules would "jeopardize safety and lead to inexperienced pilots," the FAA said.

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