Need for pilots and technicians worldwide continues, even in face of pandemic

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Boeing recently released its Pilot and Technician Outlook for 2020-2039, which includes the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in far fewer airline flights and layoffs at some companies.

“While the current industry downturn, driven by COVID-19, has resulted in a temporary oversupply of qualified personnel, the long-term need remains robust,” the outlook begins. “In recent decades, aviation has experienced external forces that have affected demand, such as 9/11, SARS and the Great Financial Crisis. Recovery has generally followed several years later, as the fundamentals driving passenger and air traffic demand remain strong.”

Prior to the downturn, the commercial aviation industry was poised to experience a shortfall of qualified pilots and technicians, the outlook continues.

“Analysis of new licenses and certificates issued over the past few years had indicated that the number of new personnel entering the industry was lagging demand. The short-term oversupply allows operators the opportunity to build their pipeline in anticipation of growth returning in the next few years.”

Some people who are currently furloughed because of the market downturn will find employment in the government and business and general aviation sectors that have previously struggled with shortages amid surging commercial demand. Additionally, as commercial traffic demand returns in upcoming years, aspiring aviators will have the opportunity to fill open positions created by a combination of retirements and fleet growth, according to the outlook.

The new outlook estimates that the world will need 763,000 pilots, down 5%, from the the 2019 projection of 804,000.

The latest outlook notes that 739,000 technicians will be needed, down 3.9%, from last year’s outlook that called for the need for 769,000 technicians.

The outlook also breaks down the need for employees by region, with the Asia-Pacific region showing the highest demand, followed by North America.

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