American Airlines' subsidiaries PSA Airlines and Envoy Air have significantly increased pay and bonuses for starting and existing pilots, a move that comes as regional carriers struggle to recruit enough pilots.

Newly-hired pilots at both carriers can now earn about $38 hourly, roughly double previous rates, the carriers say in a media release.

New pilots can expect to earn about $58,000 in their first year of employment, they add.

Envoy is also increasing pay rates for existing first officers who have worked for the company for less than three years.

The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents Envoy and PSA pilots, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

American Airlines, which owns PSA and Envoy, did not immediately say whether a third subsidiary -- Piedmont Airlines -- also made similar compensation changes.

"Our ability to attract and retain the most-talented pilots has been critical to our success," Envoy vice-president of flight operations Ric Wilson says in a media release. "Hiring more new pilots allows us to compete for additional flying."

Both carriers also pay $20,000 in annual retention bonuses to first officers and up to $20,000 in signing bonuses to nearly-hired pilots, they say.

Likewise, captains at both Envoy and PSA will earn annual retention bonuses of $7,500, according to the carriers.

"These valuable enhancements, which are effective immediately, elevate PSA to the top of the regional industry in first-year compensation for new-hire pilots," says PSA's media release. "A pilot starting their commercial aviation career with PSA can reasonably expect to reach captain and earn between $165,000 and $175,000 in compensation for their first three years of service.

The moves come as carriers grapple with what executives have described as a shortage of qualified recruits.

The carriers and their trade group in Washington, the Regional Airline Association, have attributed the shortage partly to a controversial 2013 rule that increased flight time requirement for new pilots to 1,500h.

Source: Cirium Dashboard