Long-term forecast demand for airline pilots and mechanics is significantly higher than it was before the global economic recession, according to new figures from Boeing.
The manufacturer's Training and Flight Services division now estimates that, for the next 20 years, the world's airlines will need 22,500 new pilots and 28,000 new mechanics a year to replace those retiring, and to cope with growth in the global airline fleet. In 2008, the Training and Flight Services division's forbear, Alteon, forecast that the average annual global industry needs for the 20 years from 2007 would be 18,000 pilots and 24,000 maintenance engineers.
North America heads the league in terms of the number of pilots it will need in the next two decades, at 112,000 (forecast by Alteon in 2008 at 98,000) and Europe follows at 97,000 (70,000). Other regional predicted requirements are China 61,000 (49,900), South-East Asia and Indonesia 34,000 (32,000), Latin America 32,000 (22,800), north-east Asia 19,000 (19,000), the Middle East 23,000 (17,500), the CIS 20,700 (11,500), Africa 13,200 (10,100) and Oceania 13,000 (7,200).
Boeing's projection of the totals for the next 20 years brings home the sheer size of the task: 448,000 pilots and more than half a million mechanics. This raises the question as to whether the training infrastructure to meet demand can be created in time following the slump in airline investment in ab initio training since the recession began, which has seen capacity reducing.