Know What Is Pilot Shortage In Aviation

Why is there a Pilot Shortage?

For many years, the main demographic of professional airline pilots was 40-60-year-olds who entered the sector before 2000 or with military training.

However, due to the FAA-mandated retirement age of 65, thousands of pilots representing a significant fraction of the workforce are slated to retire in the coming years for the major US airlines. The fundamental cause of the pilot shortage in the United States is this.

In addition to the loss of current pilots, the demand for air travel is expected to rise in the near future.

The airline sector has doubled in size every 15 years for the past 50 years, and this trend is expected to continue as flying becomes safer, cheaper, and more convenient than its alternatives.

Each aircraft in an airline’s fleet requires an average of 12 full-time pilots. Despite the fact that only two pilots are permitted in the cockpit at any given time, this ratio ensures that these planes are operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With airlines putting orders for hundreds of new aircraft, thousands of additional pilots will need to be educated and hired to fly them.

For the major airlines, the solution to this pilot scarcity – at least in the near term – is quite straightforward, as they seek to hire regional airline pilots early in their careers. However, not only is this method unsustainable, but it also forces minor airlines to develop their own hiring strategies, knowing that pilots will likely leave them for the major airlines within a few years.

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The airline pilot shortage will not be simple to resolve, but it creates a very good outlook for the pilots themselves, making their hiring, retention, and compensation crucial to the profitability of an airline.

How Big is the Pilot Shortage?

Numerous studies have been performed to investigate the extent and reasons of the pilot shortage, with Boeing’s being the most extensive.

Boeing evaluated airline hiring, aircraft purchases, pilots in training, industry trends, macroeconomic projections, and other factors to generate an estimate that they will revise on a regular basis.

Between 2021 and 2040, the globe will require 612,000 new pilots, with 130,000 of those needed in North America, mostly the United States. As the market as a whole grows, so do expectations for other workers in the aviation industry, such as mechanics and cabin staff.

This forecast is confirmed by Airbus’ Commercial Market Outlook, which projects that over 40,000 new aircraft will be bought in a comparable timeframe, necessitating the hiring of over 450,000 pilots – not including those who will retire and must be replaced.

Globally, the causes influencing anticipated pilot shortages differ. While this is primarily due to retirements in the United States, China and India are seeing huge development as their large populations wish to travel more locally and internationally.

Although this worldwide development will have no direct impact on local pilots, it will create a very attractive market for pilots as foreign airlines compete for available qualified pilots.

What is the Pilot Shortage’s significance for pilots?

According to the principles of supply and demand, if airline demand for pilots rises and supply cannot keep up, resulting in a pilot shortage, the price for those pilots will rise. This will be done in this case by increasing pilot compensation and incentives, ranging from recruiting bonuses to retention or performance bonuses.

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Furthermore, pilot promotions from First Officer to Captain, Regional to Major Airline, or across aircraft types from domestic narrow-body flights to international wide-body routes are expected to occur more quickly than in recent years. As a result of these improvements, the compensation and job security of these pilots at the top of the recruiting curve will improve.

For airline pilots, pilot seniority influences everything, including income, routes, aircraft, domiciles, and HR benefits. This means that pilots hired in the future years will reap the rewards for decades to come since they will gain seniority swiftly.

All of these factors point to the conclusion that there has never been a better time to become a pilot and capitalize on the pilot shortage.


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