Real Answers from Real Pilots

How fast can you move from the regionals now?

I would like to know how fast you can move from the regionals to the majors. I have been hearing a lot about the need for pilots is increasing which I would imagine would partly filter into the majors. So how fast can you move up and is it recommended to move up quicker or stay with regionals longer?

Dustin,

Obviously the goal for most people is to move up to a Major ASAP and if you can there’s nothing wrong with it. While yes the Majors are hiring many pilots right now due to expansion and retirements, they still have much higher minimums than the Regionals and there still may VERY qualified Regional Capts available for hirer. Most of the Majors like to see at least some (500-1000) hours of turbine PIC (aka Regional Capt time). Figure upgrade at the Regionals these days is 2-4 yrs, put another 2yrs on top to earn that PIC as Capt and you’re probably talking 4-6 yrs to make it to a Major. Obviously there are exceptions (both more and less) but I think that’s a realistic number.

Adam

Dustin,

For the vast majority of pilots the goal is to move to the majors as quickly as possible. There are some pilots that stay at the regionals because they like where they are based, don’t want to start over, etc, but most of us do everything possible to get to the majors.

It would be very difficult to place a time frame on how long it takes to get to the majors as it really depends on the economy and the hiring needs of the airlines, but I would say a safe bet would be five years at the least and hopefully ten years at the max.

Chris

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