Demand for Commercial Airline Pilots Will Continue to Soar. Here’s Why

The world will need new commercial airline pilots. How many? Half a million – enough to fill the entirety of a highly urbanized city in Metro Manila.This is the unanimous prediction of aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and aviation schools all over the world as they foresee that the consistent upsurge of air travel in the next 20 years could result in a shortage of commercial airline pilots.

According to a report published by BBC, airline industry especially in the Asia-Pacific is experiencing an unprecedented growth. The demand for new aircraft has in fact taken a toll on major manufactures Airbus and Boeing, which are both facing a backlog in orders from airlines.

Based on the latest forecast by Airbus, air traffic is expected to grow 4.7 percent annually over the next 20 years. Boeing also predicts a five percent yearly growth. This means that over the next 20 years, airlines will need as many as 35,280 new aircraft.

In Boeing’s Pilot and Technical Market Outlook for 2013-2032, the company said the demand for new commercial planes translates to the need of about 498,000 new commercial airline pilots over the next two decades. About 192,300 of these will be in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by Europe (99,700), Northern America (85,700), Latin America (48,600) and other regions that have a combined requirement of 71,700 pilots.

Of the 192,300 new pilots needed for Asia Pacific, about 77,400 will be in-demand in China. The frenzy to train more commercial airline pilots has caught on with the public. Some of the best flying schools in the Philippines such as WCC Aviation have been receiving a record number of inquiries for its WCC Pilot Academy in Pangasinan.

“The inquiries we receive not only come from high school students in the Philippines, but also from Filipinos who have already graduated from college and even professionals. People abroad, especially from Asia, have also signified interest to enrol in our school,” said Capt. Benedict Lopena, College of Aviation Dean and head of training for the Pilot Academy of WCC Aviation.

Yet, according to CNN, industry experts are saying that even if 100 aviation schools are set up tomorrow, these will not be enough to address the expected shortage.

It also said, citing the same Boeing market outlook report, that apart from pilots, the airline industry will also require new airline maintenance technicians to fill in the 215,300 needed to service new airplanes entering Asia Pacific alone between now and 2032.


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