SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – As airlines face a shortage of pilots, a flight school in Springfield says it’s growing and is ready to welcome new students.

Premiere Flight Center partners with Ozarks Technical Community College to train potential pilots. The school opened in 2016 with two aircraft at the Springfield-Branson National Airport. Now the school has nine aircraft and is celebrating its new hangar facility during a ceremony on Sept. 15.

According to Premiere, several factors play into the shortage of pilots worldwide, including retirement, the long training commitment, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported the need for pilots is expected to grow by 13 percent over the next decade.

CBS News reported last month that investigators are looking into an incident where two Ethiopian Airlines pilots were napping when they were supposed to land the plane. This points to a larger problem, experts said, of pilot burnout and fatigue. The solution, experts said, is for airlines to provide fewer flights and adjust schedules.

According to US News, pilots made a median salary of $130,000 in 2020, with the lowest pay being $90,470. According to OTC’s website, its aviation program, in cooperation with Premiere Flight Center, costs close to $56,000 for four flight labs and the normal credit hour cost of $127 per credit hour for the other required courses.