AIR TAXI OR CHARTER PILOT
Nature of the Work. The Air Taxi or Charter Pilot flies fare-paying passengers "anywhere-any time" but usually for short trips over varying routes in single-engine or light twin-engine planes. Working Conditions. These pilots fly passengers and cargo as service demands, but normally in daylight hours if the aircraft is a single-engine plane. Flights are mostly of short duration and pilots can count on returning home at the end of the working day. If the pilot works for a company with a fleet of aircraft, she or he may fly on regular schedules over the same routes, much like a small airline. Pilots may be required to wear a uniform when on duty.
Where The Jobs Are. Air taxi operators are located at major airports and at other airports where sufficient passenger traffic can be generated. Interline agreements with airlines account for a substantial part of air taxi business, therefore operators are frequently located at airports having airline service. Opportunities for Advancement. As is the case with the flight instructor, the air taxi pilot can build up enough flight experience in a relatively short time to qualify for the position of corporate pilot or air transport co-pilot.
If the pilot elects to remain in the air taxi and charter business, he or she may generate enough business to offer "commuter airline service" or scheduled service over specified routes similar to the operation of a small airline. Air taxi and commuter operators claim the fastest rate of growth among all segments of general aviation. This growth reflects the increase in airline travel and the increased use of air taxis to "fly all the way" from any of the more than 400 airports served by the airlines to the remaining 14,000 airports in communities without airline service. Many airlines have agreements with air taxi companies to promote the use of air taxi service to airports not served by the airline and to issue through tickets. It also reflects a growing desire by the air traveler to by-pass crowded metropolitan streets and use air taxis to reach destinations in outlying areas rather than rented cars.
Since the Airline Deregulation Act was passed in 1978, there has been rapid growth in the air taxi and commuter industry. As the major airlines abandon unprofitable route segments, air taxi and commuter services move in to continue the necessary air service. Also, the U.S. Postal Service's practice of contracting with air taxi operators to deliver mail will further increase scheduled air taxi business. Given the present rate of expansion in this field, the need for air taxi and commuter pilots will continue to grow at a high rate.
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