Due to pilot shortage, Via Airlines temporarily suspends flights from BTR to Austin
BATON ROUGE - Reports say Via Airlines has suspended all flights to and from Baton Rouge.
Less than a year ago, BTR announced that Via Airlines would offer nonstop flights to Florida and Texas. The Advocate reports that the airline switched to seasonal service to Orlando after Mardi Gras, and has canceled traffic between Baton Rouge and Austin until the end of May.
Via flights went between the cities twice a week. Recently, reports say flights have been "spotty." The airline blames the lack of pilots for the issues with flights.
BTR spokesman Jim Caldwell said airlines are facing an "industry-wide" pilot shortage that's particularly challenging for smaller carries.
Don Bowman, the company's director of planning and business development, said the airline needs time to train a "new class" of pilots.
Reports say four applicants have completed their ground training for Via but they need time in a simulator and must complete a line check before becoming official Via pilots.
Via has another four-member class starting soon, as the company plans to expand into Pennsylvania and Connecticut in June and July, Bowman said.
The company said it plans to resume service to Austin on May 23.
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