You have just been hired as a strategic HR consultant to Vertical Horizons, a regional airline that has hubs of operations in the three (3) states with the busiest airports. You have just returned from an introductory meeting with Vertical Horizon’s management team in NYC where they asked you to attend an upcoming strategic management session in upstate New York.

You have just been hired as a strategic HR consultant to Vertical Horizons, a regional airline that has
hubs of operations in the three (3) states with the busiest airports. You have just returned from an
introductory meeting with Vertical Horizon’s management team in NYC where they asked you to attend
an upcoming strategic management session in upstate New York. They would like you to assist them
with a strategic issue relating to an impending shortage of airplane pilots. Coincidentally, on your return
from the NYC meeting, your flight home was delayed by 4 hours due to the lack of an “available” copilot.
They have read the 2014 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook report and want your help.
According to Boeing’s 2014 Pilot and Technician Outlook report, there is a need for nearly 533,000
airline pilots over the next 20 years. While demand is expected to be the greatest in the Asia Pacific
region, there is still likely to be demand in the US for pilots. Industry officials warn that a shortage
looms because of several factors. The mandatory retirement age in the US for a pilot is 65 (extended
from 60 in 2007) which means that many Vietnam Era veteran pilots are looking for retirement homes
near golf courses. In addition, the FAA has imposed greater training requirements and longer rest
periods between shifts for current employees. In addition, the economic downturn and the complication
of airline mergers have caused problems for airlines attempting to hire and retain qualified pilots
needed today and in the future. The profession is also facing difficulties attracting new entrants due to
the time it takes to meet the entry training requirements, and the high cost of training at accredited
flight schools. And the lure of foreign airlines could also help reduce the domestic supply of pilots.
The three (3) busiest airports in the United States are:
1) Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) – Atlanta, Georgia
2) O’Hare International Airport (ORD) – Chicago, Illinois
3) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – Los Angeles, California
Your assignment:
Prepare a report that you will share with Vertical Horizons that addresses the following:
• Research the severity of the predicted pilot shortage and the external labor market because
the company is concerned about the availability of pilots in the future.
• Compare forecasted employment trends in the above states (with the busiest airports) with
those of the entire United States. I suggest you reread Chapter 5 of your text for helpful
resources.
• Develop an action plan to strategically address the impending pilot shortage in the industry.
What are your suggestions for improving the quantity and quality of pilots over the next two
(2) decades? Vertical Horizon’s is considering discussing the issue at the next meeting of
Airlines for America, the airline industry’s trade group.
• Develop an action plan for Vertical Horizons to proactively address the situation for its own
operations.

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