In the next 10 years there are going to be over 18,000 commercial pilots retiring and very few pilots to take their place. Plus, due to newly enacted federal regulations (FAR 117) the pilot pool has been significantly reduced due to a requirement that all pilots have at least 1,500 flights hours. Previously, pilots were required to complete only 250 hours (note: most pilots graduate from their training programs with only 250 hours). So today there are very few ways for a pilot to log the additional 1250 hours in order to become an airline pilot. As a result, the regional airlines are not going to be able to operate the vast majority of flights they do today, which could mean the end of most commercial flights from Madison or Milwaukee to Chicago. This may have a devastating effect on Wisconsin’s economy if major corporations decide to move closer to a major airport hub, such as Chicago. However, Railflyer could fill this opportunity by replacing regional flights with passenger rail. Specifically, trains use engineers and not pilots. As a result, instead of a lot of secondary cities potentially losing airline service, what filling that gap with a passenger rail or high speed rail service.
After all, this is what they have done in Europe….