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Airlines in the United States of America have varying total time requirements to determine eligibility for the potential employment of applicants. Why do airlines set total time requirements beyond the minimums that are present to achieve the required ratings?

I realize that this question is prone to answers that are purely speculative or opinion based, so I caution against posting such an answer. I am asking for concrete reasons. For example, airline executives may have given answers in the form of interviews. I also speculate that airlines may have insurance requirements or institute total time requirements to control the number of applications they get.

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    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, back in the early 1980s when I was trying to get on with an airline, it was commonly accepted that what you said in the last part of your last sentence was the reason, i.e. to control the number of applications they get. Of course, many of us sent our less-than-minimum-time applications anyway because we desperately wanted to fly for an airline. However, I never knew of any low-timer that was hired unless they knew somebody. United did interview low-timers once for possible strike breaking. $\endgroup$ – Terry Jan 8 '17 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ Back in the late 90's American Eagle was hiring commercial pilots with as little as 500 hours total time and no ATP, obviously. Tough way to build time (low pay, you have to accept any base they send you to, etc.) but unless they sent you to the Caribbean it was all jet time. They called them "500-hour wonders." :) The reason I point this out is that not all airlines can afford to have high TT requirements, not in a market where there is a scarcity of candidates. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jan 11 '17 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ "Why do airlines set total time requirements beyond the minimums that are present to achieve the required ratings?" Because you learn a LOT more about piloting in the 1000+ hours after your rating than you did while prepping for the rating. Though I would say that a junior pilot with a few hundred hours can still be a very capable First Officer if the Captain is a multi-thousand hour pilot who really knows the aircraft. $\endgroup$ – Shawn Apr 13 '17 at 18:34

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