Billionaires may have to suffer the indignities of flying first class.

Empty Cockpit

Bad news for the extremely wealthy: airplane pilots are abandoning their gigs flying private jets for more steady work at commercial airlines.

Pilots seem to be attracted to steady jobs that provide regular pay rather than the hourly wages and short notice that come with captaining some rich folks' private planes, according to The Independent. The result is a labor shortage that's not only keeping the wealthy grounded but hurting private jet sales as well.

Recruitment Drive

If the mega-rich's appetite for personalized air travel continues unfettered, the industry would need to find about 98,000 new pilots by 2038 — about 5,000 per year — The Independent reports.

Oliver Stone, managing director of the jet resale company Colibri Aircraft, told The Independent that "the business aviation sector is struggling to compete with airlines in recruiting pilots."

“This means commercial airlines are not only recruiting existing business aviation pilots, they are also getting the pick of newly qualified pilots," he said. "This issue is increasingly impacting the sale of some private jets, and we expect it to continue."

READ MORE: World’s super-rich hit by private jet pilot shortage [The Independent]

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