World Faces Looming Pilot Shortage: OAG
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World Faces Looming Pilot Shortage: OAG

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Emilio Aristegui By Emilio Aristegui | Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst - Mon, 03/06/2023 - 15:50

The Official Airline Guide (OAG) reports that pilot shortages will cause severe challenges for the aviation industry, as forecasts indicate that the North American region will be severely affected in the next 10-20 years. 

Pilot shortages will affect airline growth and airfare prices, with forecasts indicating a shortage of 55,000 pilots globally by 2029 in the EU, the Middle East, North America and Asia Pacific explains OAG via an Aviation Market Analysis, adding that the aviation industry failed to prepare for the shortage. 

Pilot shortages have become a part of everyday life and a major concern for the aviation industry, explains OAG. Regular benefits offered by airlines, such as great salaries, stopovers in exotic locations and significant fringe benefits, have proven insufficient as the aviation industry faces a crisis for which “there appear to be few solutions,” says OAG.

Pilots have extremely stressful jobs, which are compensated with some of the highest salaries in the aviation industry. Total working hours are amongst the lowest in any working groups, says OAG. Market requirements force pilots to retire at either 60 or 65 and having 60% of pilots aged over 40 points to a heavy concentration of resources for companies, in comparison to other industries and professions.

While estimates are diverse, it is widely agreed that pilot shortages will soon cause problems. Shortage forecasts appear to settle at around 55,000 pilots by the end of the decade, with North America and Asia Pacific severely affected. 

“As we know, airline operating margins are wafer-thin; a small turn on operating costs and the potential profit of any airline can be compromised. In part, the need to carefully manage the costs you can control has resulted in the current pilot shortages, although other factors such as age distribution and attitude to retirement have accelerated the pilot shortage,” says OAG. 

Jose Ricardo Botelho, Executive Director, ALTA, explains that the CAE's Pilot Outlook Demand 2020-2029 report estimates a demand for 260,000 new pilots globally and 16,000 in South America. Airbus projects that over 550,000 pilots and 710,000 skilled technicians will be needed worldwide in the next 20 years. 

“In the current context of recovery and growth in passenger demand, with the reactivation of routes, frequencies and travel possibilities, meeting this demand for aeronautical personnel is a highly relevant challenge for the aviation industry,” says Botelho as reported by MBN.

Photo by:   Image by Stocksnap from Pixabay

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