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Aviation faces a pilot shortage post Covid-19

Securing a pipeline of new pilots has been a top priority for airlines around the world in recent years, especially prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), more than two million pilot positions are expected in 2030 due to the retirement of trained experts and the expected increase of commercial air transport.

After hundreds of pilots accepted early retirement or decided to change careers during the Covid-19 pandemic, the United Kingdom is experiencing a pilot shortage that might hinder the reopening of the travel industry, according to the Telegraph.

The return of demand

Forecasting when demand will return is a big challenge facing the aviation sector. Global air travel demand could rebound to 84% of 2019 levels by the end of 2022. Intraregional travel is expected to grow in Europe and North America in the spring and summer. For passenger recovery, estimates range from early 2022 to 2024 and beyond. For pilots, however, demand is driven by aircraft departures and utilization rather than passengers. The global in-service fleet has already recovered in size to 76% of pre covid levels.

In 2018 Boeing released its Pilot & Technician outlook, which showed demand for 790,000 pilots over the next 20 years. This translates to more than 39K new pilots each year for the next two decades. This represents double the current workforce and the most significant demand in the outlooks nine-years history. The impact also depends on the class of carrier, with 83 percent of regional carriers finding it challenging to recruit talent compared with 22 percent of low-cost carriers.

Simply put, there will be a greater demand for aviation specialists than there will be available. There are several factors to consider:

  • wholesale retirements in the current generation of aviation professionals

  • Potential applicants find aviation vocations unappealing

  • For competent individuals, there is rivalry from other industries

  • Career changes and redundancies due to the effects of Covid-19

  • Limited training capacity

  • Learning approaches that aren’t adaptable to changing learning styles

  • accessibility to affordable training

  • lack of competency harmonisation

  • There is a lack of understanding among the “next generation” about the various sorts of aviation careers accessible

Pilot training

The ICAO study compares the average number of professionals worldwide that will need to be trained annually with the training capacity if existing facilities. Their study reveals a short fall of pilots.

The costs of pilot training are well known. However, you may make use of this to your profit and the benefit of your student pilots. You might want to consider establishing a separate training wing for your aircraft firm. You might be able to help rookie pilots save money by doing so.

Pilots from all over the world go to Europe for their training. Non-residents were awarded 48 percent of UK licences and 20 percent of European licences in 2015, with non-residents doing their trade elsewhere. As a result, this might be a lucrative new revenue stream for your airline.


Solutions must be globally-harmonized in nature and include human resource planning tools, accredited training and educational programmes adapted to the next generation, and wide-ranging cooperation among concerned stakeholders.

Reduce pilot demand: Take advantage of the opportunity to rethink crew operations and enhance crew efficiency, decreasing the total number of pilots necessary while lowering expenses.

The most straightforward method to maintain a solid operation is to engage with an experienced, expert aviation recruiter. Here at AeroProfessional our specialist recruiters have used their strategic knowledge to acquire highly trained and motivated pilots for our valued partners even in the most challenging markets.

Gain the recruitment resources and strategic insight you need to ride out the pilot shortage by calling on the experts at AeroProfessional.


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