The Aviation Industry Faces A Global Pilot Shortage
The growing demand for commercial airline pilots in the aviation industry is no secret. This demand is increasing every year and heading towards an all-time high. Many factors contribute to this growing demand, including the growth of the aviation industry as a whole.
A report released by Boeing, the latest Pilot Outlook, shows that in the next two decades, global demand for pilots will reach 790,000. Of these, 635,000 will need to be commercial pilots. Statistics show that Asia-Pacific will need around 261,000 of these pilots, followed by North America.
According to Aero Professional’s aviation industry report from December 2017, the number of passengers in 2018 will pass 4.3 billion. This statistic proves how big the demand for pilots is. However, despite the growing aviation industry, various factors have lead to the supply of pilots tightening. So, if you’re wanting to become a pilot, you need to consider the shortage and how it may influence your career.
The “bidding war”
Andrew Herdman, director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, explains how wage competition and a “bidding war” is leaving airlines with a with a shortage of pilots: “There is not so much a shortage of pilots as a rising cost of attracting and retaining the pilots you need, particularly the experienced ones.”
Dan Adamus, president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) Canada, says that Canadian pilots are generally getting pay rises. “It’s certainly harder for airlines to recruit qualified pilots,” he said. “The pilots are going to go where there is better pay.”
Although this might become costly as an airline carrier, it is a wonderful opportunity for pilots and future pilots to negotiate great wage and benefit packages. This remuneration will make the initial cost of training to become a pilot worthwhile.
The decrease in people training to become pilots
Following on from the above point, the aviation industry has seen a decline in the number of people wanting to become pilots. Bob Seidel, an experienced pilot and CEO of air charters company Alerion Aviation, touches on the fact that “Baby Boomer pilots, who are the largest number – almost 50% of the pilots flying today – are about to retire.”
Experience in the aviation industry is key, which may also be a contributing factor to the above. To become experienced or an industry expert takes many, many hours of training, and years of dedication. Perhaps the future generation of pilots are not as patient as those before them?
The 1,500 hour rule
The 1,500-hour rule went into effect in the United States in 2013. This rule meant that commercial pilots flying for commercial airlines were to have at least 1,500 hours of accrued flight time, instead of the 250 hours which was required before for an Air Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.
This new rule also states that before you can qualify to serve as a captain, an additional 1,000 flight hours is required. Although this rule is well-intentioned, it has added to the severity of the pilot shortage.
Bob Seidel also believes that the emphasis on hours might shift to placing emphasis on the quality of pilot qualifications instead. “There is a whole spectrum of capabilities represented [in the market]. Some are pretty young and green but outstanding, and some very experienced but not that good. We have to come up with different ways that recognize skills—other than flight hours,” he says.
Based on that thought, to train and qualify as a pilot, has become far more accessible and timely with the help of courses offered by Simtech, for example.
The cost of becoming a pilot
The monetary cost of becoming a pilot is also no secret. This is also due to uncontrollable economic factors like the cost of fuel.
Some carriers offer training directly however independent training schools like Simtech Aviation offer aviation training and have facilities for both student pilots and airlines. As an EASA approved FTO, Simtech’s purpose-built aviation training centre next to Dublin Airport make use of experienced trainers, mentors and programs, to ensure world-class training in all areas of pilot excellence are achieved.
Recently, Simtech has even reevaluated the pricing of our courses with the foresight to reduce the cost of training to become a pilot, and our MCC/JOC course now costs less than it used to.
The idea behind investing in training is to secure an increase in the supply of pilots in the industry, and to increase loyalty to an airline, simultaneously decreasing the high pilot turnover that some airlines are experiencing. Once again, this is a great opportunity for those wanting to train to become pilots.
The gender gap
Despite the above factors influencing the supply of pilots into the industry, the aviation industry has always been male-dominated. According to Forbes, initiatives to attract more women into the aviation industry are being put into place by airlines like JetBlue in the United States.
In South Africa, national carrier South African Airways (SAA) recently celebrated a flight which was controlled by an all-women crew. The airline even had all-female ground staff for the flight, with the load controller, operations controller and ramp controller being held by a female crew.
In this instance, SAA is followed in the footsteps of other international carriers like Ethiopian Airlines, Air India and Thomas Cook Airlines to name a few. The shift towards the closing of the gender gap is fantastic for young women who dream of becoming pilots.
The supply increase
Despite the global shortage of pilots around the world, if it is your dream to become a pilot, there is no better time to do so. If you would like some guidance on how to being your journey into this industry, contact us and we’ll help you with where to begin.
We aim to diversify and develop your skills with our exceptional training courses. You will be guided by an experienced instructor team, have access to our cutting-edge flight simulators and high-grade facilities. We are dedicated to producing excellent pilots. To find out which courses might suit you best visit https://simtech.ie/pilot-training/.