A pilot shortage is increasingly preventing the use of business jets in Europe, warns London-based aircraft broker Colibri Aircraft. Lack of available aircrew has become a difficulty in seven out of every 10 business jet sales that it handles, the company said. This is up from about 20 percent five years ago, it added.
“Jet ownership should be a means of making your life easier, but right now crew availability is a real issue affecting ownership and usage that increasingly has to be considered before making a purchase,” said Colibri Aircraft managing director Oliver Stone.
Colibri believes the problem is worsening as airlines have stepped up recruiting from the private sector and growing markets in Asia, the Middle East, and other locations are luring more pilots from Europe. “Europe needs around 95,000 new commercial pilots by 2034, and many airlines are looking to the business aviation sector to help fill this gap,” Stone said, “We are increasingly having to research in the early stages of an acquisition how clients plan to crew their aircraft.”
Owners run the risk of not having available crew if they decide to hire only one full-time pilot and rely on contract crew, he said, adding owners might need to make arrangements with operators with crews on their certificates or pay higher monthly costs for pilots.