Senior executives with struggling PenAir told members of the Western Nebraska Regional Airport Authority Board Wednesday that the company has run headlong into the same pilot shortage that previous carrier Great Lakes Aviation faced.
PenAir has not been meeting expectations since taking over Scottsbluff’s essential air service last fall and Chief Operating Officer Dave Hall says since that time the situation has become very challenging.
Hall says the airline has lost 27 pilots in the last seven to nine months, which he explained was “a pretty significant hit for an airline our size. ” Hall says the challenge is to replace the pilots they have lost and hire to a level so they are able to be more reliable with the schedule they have.
Hall says they have hired a full time pilot recruiter, and have added many incentives including sign-on bonuses since the first of the year to obtain more pilots .
Hall says a huge wind storm in Kearney a few weeks ago picked up and blew a stair stand 75 feet across the ramp and into the side of one of their aircraft, so they have been down one airplane since that time as well.