Boeing Sees Pilot Numbers Climbing as Mechanic Count Flattens

AIN Air Transport Perspective » September 2, 2013
Boeing launched training for the 787 widebody at its Miami Flight Services center on the same day it forecast rising requirements for pilots over the next two decades. (Photo: Boeing)
September 2, 2013, 10:25 AM

The airline industry will need more than one million new pilots and technicians to operate and maintain new aircraft due for delivery over the next two decades, according to a new forecast from Boeing. The 2013 Pilot and Technician Outlook, released on Thursday at the launch of 787 training at the U.S. airframer’s Miami Flight Services campus, projects a requirement for 498,000 new airline pilots and 556,000 new maintenance technicians by 2032.

The forecast for future pilot numbers represents a significant increase on previous Boeing projections for all regions of the world apart from Europe. Boeing sees a need for approximately 28,000 new technicians annually over the next 20 years but said that the introduction of more efficient and higher-technology aircraft will require fewer mechanics to support them over time as operators retire older airplanes.

Asia-Pacific stands as the region with the highest forecast staffing requirement over the forecast period (192,300 pilots and 215,300 technicians), followed by Europe (99,700/108,200), North America (85,700/97,900), Latin America (48,600/47,600), the Middle East (40,000/53,100), Africa (16,500/15,900) and Russia and the CIS (15,200/18,000).

“The urgent demand for competent aviation personnel is a global issue that is here now and very real,” said Boeing Flight Services vice president Sherry Carbary. “The key to closing the pilot and technician gap in our industry is enhancing our training with the very latest, cutting-edge technologies to attract and retain young people interested in careers in aviation.”

Meanwhile, on August 29, CAE announced the start of training at its new facility in Delhi, India. A joint venture between Canada-based CAE and India’s Interglobe, the center includes two level-D simulators for the Airbus A320. With six simulator bays available, it will eventually carry the capacity to train more than 5,000 pilots each year.

Separately, CAE has completed the approval process for the first of its full-flight simulators that meet the new Doc 9625 edition 3 Type VII requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization. An A320 simulator installed at the Asian Aviation Center of Excellence in Singapore and an A330 unit sold to Singapore Airlines have gained approval to the new standards.

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chuck andersen
on September 3, 2013 - 10:25am

Has anyone speculated how many helicopter pilot/ technicians will be required during the same period?

No Avatar
on September 3, 2013 - 11:52am

“The key to closing the pilot and technician gap in our industry is enhancing our training with the very latest, cutting-edge technologies to attract and retain young people interested in careers in aviation.”

What a joke this statement is!

Until wages get to a realistic level there is little chance the alleged "pilot gap" will get better. The recent change in training requirements for an ATP will only make it harder for pilot candidates in the US. Still with all of the pilots in the US who are willing to work for nothing, it will be a long time before this creates any shortage.

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Larry Walters
on September 3, 2013 - 4:15pm

When the starting pay jumps aggressively for both mechanics and pilots, I will believe this hogwash.

Supply and demand will determine the need.

I heard the same story when I enrolled in Central Missouri States Aviation program in 1991.

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