Republic Airways CEO cites difficulty finding qualified pilots

Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:22pm EST

Feb 11 (Reuters) - Republic Airways Holdings Inc saw a decrease in the number of qualified applicants for pilot positions shortly after a U.S. requirement for more experience took effect last year, Chief Executive Bryan Bedford said in a letter to staff.

Bedford said in the letter sent on Monday that the company's Chautauqua subsidiary "is having a very difficult time finding new-hire pilots" that meet the new requirements.

The letter was obtained by Reuters and verified by Republic Airways.

Republic disclosed on Tuesday that its pre-tax income would be reduced this year because it was forced to pull planes from service due to a lack of qualified pilots.

The company also said the change in its business plan would create 750 fewer jobs, including flight attendant and maintenance positions.