The Aviation Industry Needs 1,000,000 New Pilots & Techs by 2032

03_PilotsWanted

Here in Park City, Utah, the mountain sports’ venue for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, there are 600 commercial pilots living among the 8,000 residents. SLC is a major hub for Delta. But Park City also is a popular residence for American and Southwest pilots who commute to work.

I often ski with the pilots I know. Most of them trained in the air force and then moved on to major airlines. They work 10 to 12 days a month and ski the rest of the winter days. It’s probably the best ski-bum job on the mountain.

So why is there a projected commercial pilot shortage?

The long learning curve for pilots seems to be too steep for the rapid rise of expanding commercial aviation. Even the air force can’t keep up with demand. The Pentagon is advertising for “at least 130 veteran military aviators for nine-year commitment to fly fighter jets” and they’re offering a $225,000 signing bonus.

Last week, Boeing released a statement indicating the demand for an exponential growth of new commercial pilots and maintenance technicians worldwide over the next 20 years “will be unprecedented.”

They write “the aviation industry will need to supply approximately one million new commercial airline pilots and maintenance technicians between now and 2032 to support this tremendous growth.”

The 2013 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook breaks the numbers down to “a requirement for 498,000 new commercial airline pilots and 556,000 new maintenance technicians.”

They cite a need for “innovative solutions focused on new digital technology to match the learning requirements of a new generation … growing diversity of aviation personnel [with] cross-cultural and cross-generational skills.”

They also suggest a need to focus on “the advanced features of the latest generation of airplanes, such as the 787 Dreamliner.”

The surging demand for pilots will be strongest in the Asia Pacific region, with a projected need for 192,300 new pilots over the next 20 years, according to Boeing. Most of those will be needed in China. But the numbers of needed pilots in Europe, North America and the Middle East are not far behind.

The Tarmac’s View:  A demand for one million new pilots and maintenance technicians in 20 years? That’s truly amazing, and probably undoable. Mammas please let your babies grow up to be pilots.

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