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How Has Pilot Shortage Affected The Aviation Industry?

For the past few years, securing a line of pilots has been a cause of concern for the aviation industry. With organizations and pilot schools continuing to provide great jobs and an array of opportunities, the shortage of pilots has become known. Airlines are forced to develop newer solutions for recruiting and retaining new pilots, which includes providing a higher pay and integrated cadet programs.

A major cause of worry is not the occurrence of a shortage of pilots, but rather the extent of this shortage causing an imbalance in the demand and supply of the same. Given the impact created by regional airlines by providing pilots to major ones, it has caused devastating effects over the industry and the economy. With the number of flights reduced to a fraction of what it was before the pandemic, it is hard to imagine that there could be a pilot shortage across the horizon.

As the consulting firm Oliver Wyman states that there could be a 10% shortfall in the workforce, let’s observe the effects of pilot shortage :

Economic And Population Growth

Economy and population are two factors that contribute immensely towards aerospace. A recent forecast by Boeing states that more than 800,000 pilots would be required in the next 20 years. This raises the question whether the industry will ever return to normalcy and would pilots be provided with the opportunities that they desire?

With the surge in employment costs, IATA‘s `chief Brian Pearce stated that cost pressures would never stop imminently. As people observe the current economy, unemployment has fallen to new lows. There are multiple organizations that have addressed this concern regarding the shortage.

As high costs for training and other purposes remain to be the main issue, what also lies in is the requirement to bring out comprehensive solutions that could balance the economy and the industry as a whole.

The Return Of Demand

Even though increasing pilot salaries would be recognized as an effective solution for sorting the pilot shortage problem, the main question is whether demand will return. For pilots, the market is driven by aircraft departures and utilization rather than passengers.

As growth continues to be a significant contributor for the aviation space, Canadian manufacturers CAE in their “2020-2029 Pilot Demand Outlook”, have stated that retirement and attrition rates will be a challenge for aerospace, as air travel has increased progressively. With an expected result of acute demand for pilots, it has also been estimated that 27,000 professional pilots would be required starting in late 2021.

Although the aviation space is currently faded with rising costs and surplus pilots, several programs have been trimmed down, thus displaying the career path less secure.

Decade Marked By Mandatory Retirements

As stated by a CNBC report, although airlines have received $54 billion in federal aid since 2020, annual pilot retirements would be the greatest in the next five years. While the industry struggles to get the right candidate, governments and organizations enforce a certain age for the pilots to retire.

Even before making any allowances for growth, replacements with new pilots and initiatives taken by various organisations can only serve as an impetus for the industry. A 2017 report by Cowen estimated that mandatory retirement rates would surge from 1,266 in 2017 to 2,397 by 2021, before finally peaking at 2,641 in the year 2025. With the industry facing massive retirement numbers over the next ten years, Boeing reports that educational outreach and career development programs are more essential for recruiting the next generation of pilots.

With needs required to be flooded upon, getting enough pilots could take a longer time. With the constant changes occurring in space due to the current pandemic, aviation training schools are striving to provide extra training so that hiring could be easy.

Conclusion :

As aviation struggles to meet up people’s expectations, various training schools like strive to bring in the Aviators of Tomorrow for their students and ensure to avoid any margin for error and guarantee a brighter future for the students.


AOT Crew

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