Planes, companies need another 252,000 pilots and 599,000 flight attendants -

Planes, companies need another 252,000 pilots and 599,000 flight attendants -

Airlines will need to hire 69 new pilots every day for ten years to cope with retiring commanders and first officers and plans for expansion. In parallel, an additional 164 flight attendants and 110 new aircraft maintenance technicians will be needed per day. The latest report by Cae, a company that supplies training and simulation technologies to civil and military aviation around the world, not only shows that the sector has recovered, but that it is already suffering from the personnel necessary to guarantee operations basis in the near future. Demand for pilots will outstrip supply next year or 2025, and this trend will continue for a decade, says Cae.

The standards

On average, 10 pilots are needed for a regional aircraft (from 19-100 seats), 11 for a short-medium range jet (from 100-220 seats) and 16 for a long-range one (over 220 seats). The international standards established by ICAO, the United Nations agency, require at least 250 flight hours to obtain the license and work as a co-pilot. Six times as much - that is, 1,500 hours - to aspire to find a job as a commander. The shortage of commanders and first officers is prompting more than one to propose a reduction in the minimum hours, but for now the regulatory authorities have not changed their minds.

The World Fleet

Cae estimates that aircraft used for passenger transport will go from the current 31,000 to 43,000 in 2032. Ten years later - as recently reported - the global fleet should rise to 46,560 (for Airbus) or 48,600 (for Boeing). The document also mentions the situation of general aviation: private jets should rise, again according to CAE, from 22,000 to 26,000.


But what happens in the meantime on the personnel side? The US Federal Aviation Authority estimates that over 45,000 pilots will retire within ten years, more than a quarter of all registered captains and first officers in the country. The chain that is leading to the shortage in the cabin starts precisely from the senior commanders of the large national carriers who retire. The gap is filled by leveling up 40-50 year old commanders. The latter's posts are then filled by first officers who have been promoted to commander in the meantime.

The chain of pilots

These former first officers leave their positions bare, which are then assigned to local carrier commanders meanwhile hired by national airlines as first officers. The first officers of the regional carriers in turn become commanders in the same carriers - always to fill the gaps left in the cabin - but since no new pilots arrive, the small airlines cancel flights and ground the aircraft. According to the Regional airline association - a reality that brings together these small carriers - 414 aircraft, 22% of the total regional fleet, are at a standstill due to the shortage of pilots.

The needs in the areas

The situation is similar in the rest of the world, says Cae. This is why it will be necessary to train 99,000 new pilots in ten years just to replace those who retire. Another 153 thousand will be needed to support the growth of the sector. Of these, 92,000 will serve in Asia-Pacific, 63,000 in North America, 44,000 in Europe, 22,000 in the Middle East, 22,000 in South America and 3,000 in Africa. And they will add to the 252 thousand already in service - of the current 351 thousand - all over the world.

The other staff

Riders are for one side only. Because the sector - calculates Cae - needs to train and hire, again in the reference decade, another 599,000 flight attendants and a further 328,000 technicians for aircraft maintenance. The personnel also serve in general aviation with an additional 32,000 pilots required for private jets and 74,000 maintenance technicians.

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