Training program allows Grand Canyon Scenic pilots to move up

For people like Amanda Daniel, a program launched last year by Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines represents an opportunity to get on a fast track to becoming a jet pilot.

Daniel, 31, is part of a class of eight that just began ground school for Grand Canyon Scenic, the world’s largest air-tour operator that flies tourists from Las Vegas over the Grand Canyon.

But she has bigger plans.

In a few years, she has ambitions to fly Allegiant Air’s Airbus A319 jets to and from the carrier’s 150 destinations.

Thanks to a pilot recruitment program that has begun bearing fruit, Grand Canyon Scenic pilots are able to get experience and flight hours on the airline’s deHavilland Twin Otter and Cessna Caravan turboprop planes before moving up with both companies’ blessing to Allegiant’s jets.

New pilot class

Allegiant’s chief pilots for the western and eastern regions, Ernie Nevin and Robert Butler, met with the new Grand Canyon Scenic pilot class at Boulder City Municipal Airport Wednesday and received an orientation to the pilot recruitment flow-through agreement.

“It gives us an opportunity to get to know them and for them to meet us and learn about our company and our plans,” Nevin said.

It’s a perfect scenario for Daniel, who worked on the ramp guiding planes at Missoula International Airport in Montana before discovering she wanted more and awakening her ambition to become a pilot.

After working as a flight attendant for Skywest Airlines, Daniel discovered she liked the desert Southwest and enrolled in pilot schools in Kingman, Arizona, and Laughlin. When she was hired by Grand Canyon Scenic, she moved to Henderson.

Nick DiBlasi, a Grand Canyon Scenic captain, is now in a position Daniel hopes to be in a couple of years. He pilots Twin Otters on sightseeing flights, building toward the 1,000 hours he needs to fly before getting into Allegiant’s pilot classes and entering the airline’s training program in Las Vegas.

Pilot shortage

One former Grand Canyon Scenic pilot has made it through the program and is working for Allegiant now with two more expected to make it through by July. But now, the pipeline is starting to fill, which will help Allegiant tackle a major operational problem — a worldwide pilot shortage.

With airlines growing, fleets expanding and thousands of pilots nearing retirement age, aviation analysts have projected a shortage of between 3,000 and 15,000 pilots over the next three to nine years.

Several legacy carriers have agreements with regional airlines to recruit pilots. Delta Air Lines, for example, has a relationship with one of its regional partners, Minneapolis-based Compass Airlines.

The Grand Canyon Scenic-Allegiant relationship is better than others because they’re so close geographically and culturally.

“It’s a perfect fit,” said Dave McIntosh, chief pilot for Grand Canyon Scenic. “And with this program in place, there’s an incentive to work harder to be a part of it.”

The operational headquarters of the two airlines is about 30 miles apart and Allegiant officials welcomed the new hires at Grand Canyon Scenic to visit their training center where the company has simulators open 20 hours a day, advanced training systems and classrooms to learn A320 and McDonnell MD-80 aircraft.

Cultural fit

Culturally, both airlines serve the tourism industry so there’s an added touch of care pilots are trained to deliver to their customers.

Allegiant’s and Grand Canyon Scenic’s flight scheduling is appealing to pilots because both of them offer routes allow crews to fly out and come home on the same day.

“In most of the bigger airlines, you have to take three- and four-day schedules and spend nights away from home in a hotel room,” Nevin said. “With us, you go out and come back the same day unless there’s weather or mechanical issues and that’s very appealing to people who like to spend more time with their famil

The recruitment agreement enables Grand Canyon Scenic pilots to skip several steps in the traditional recruitment process — mostly interest interviews — that would not be needed if the prospective pilots get to know Allegiant’s pilot managers.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes Trump tweeted his concerns about the company on Thursday. This isn't the first time Trump commented on the issues via Twitter. August 2017 December 2017 Amazon did hold back on paying state taxes in 1995, but the company has been routinely collecting state sales taxes since then. In 2016, the company's report from the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed it paid $412 million in taxes.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like