global pilot shortage
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Commonly asked questions we receive at Pilot Path include “will I get a job when I’m finished my training?” and “will the pandemic’s impact on aviation affect my chances of gaining employment?”. These are important questions to ask for any aspiring pilots and below we will detail why this is quite the opposite and how the demand for pilots will be higher than ever before as we move through the next decade.
First and foremost, it is important to understand the ripple effects of the pandemic on the aviation industry. In March-April 2020, travel restrictions and border closures caused an abrupt decline in passenger air travel. Airlines and operators around the world have adjusted their operations to align with lower demand. On the one hand, airlines and operators have reduced the pilot workforce to offset the financial impact of the pandemic. On the other hand, data indicates that the industry will face significant challenges in the upcoming years to meet the demand for pilots.
Despite the short-term decline in the number of active pilots, analysis shows that the civil aviation industry will require more than 260,000 new pilots over the next decade. As air travel resumes progressively over the next several years, the industry will experience upward mandatory retirement and attrition rates
The fundamental factors influencing pilot demand prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic remain unchanged. In recent years, the significant growth in passenger air traffic translated into record demand for professional pilots worldwide. Age-based retirement combined with fleet growth were and remain the main drivers of pilot demand. Third-party analysis shows that commercial aviation and business aviation markets are forecast to continue growing over the next decade – over 11,000 additional business and commercial aircraft are expected to join the active world fleet during that period.
Pilots Needed Over THE NEXT 10 YEARS
Today, pilots over 50 years of age represent 38% of the total civil aviation industry pilot pool.
The general aging of the pilot workforce presents a challenge for airlines and operators to solve. With the industry facing massive retirement numbers over the next ten years, the percentage of pilots over the age of 50 continues to increase versus the total civil aviation industry pilot pool. Currently, this pilot population age represents a disproportionally high rate. As experienced pilots retire, a chain reaction of new hires is triggered.
In commercial aviation, replacements consist mainly of age-based retirement, early retirement, and pilot attrition. Around 3.8% of commercial pilots are expected to retire or leave the profession every year over the next 10 years, creating a need for 126,000 new commercial aviation pilots over that same period.
In business aviation, replacements consist mainly of age-based retirement, attrition, and the movement of pilots from business to commercial aviation. Over the next decade, business aviation pilots are expected to join commercial airlines at a rate of 4.0% every year. In addition, 3.6% of pilots will leave due to both retirement and attrition. This translates into a need for 41,000 new business aviation pilots over the next 10 years.
The high educational cost associated with becoming a pilot has kept aspiring pilots from reaching their goals.
Many have difficulty gaining access to funding for their training program. Receiving funding is dependent upon the risk and return financing institutions are willing to take. Will the student drop out or fail her training? Will they pass it but not find employment? How long should the loan terms be? These are the questions financial institutions ask themselves before lending, which, unfortunately do not usually meet the institution’s risk/return parameters.
Less than 10% of eligible aspiring pilots have access to direct funding. Rather than leaving talent on the bench due to funding, one of our main focus points from the very beginning at Pilot Path has been to offer student lending and normalise this in the flight training industry That is why we have teamed up with Humm Finance in Ireland and Kandoo Finance in the UK. To find out more about you can access these lending streams and chase your dreams with confidence, contact us here