The International Civil Aviation Organisation is warning that early action is required if serious shortages of pilots, maintenance personnel and air traffic controllers are to be averted over the next 20 years.

It says that the number of commercially operated aircraft will jump from 61,833 in 2010 to 151,565 in 2030, with annual departures doubling to almost 52 million.

Such large rises would more than double the numbers of pilots, maintenance workers and controllers now working, concludes a study undertaken on behalf of the organisation.

However, the capacity of existing training facilities fails to keep pace with the required increase in personnel. If matters do not improve there will be a cumulative shortfall in training capacity over the next two decades equivalent to 160,000 pilots, 360,000 maintenance personnel and 40,000 air traffic controllers, says the report.

"If no action to increase training capacity is initiated early, shortages in qualified aviation personnel are likely," says ICAO secretary general Raymond Benjamin.

ICAO last year convened a conference, Next Generation of Aviation Professionals, that outlined a strategy to recruit, train and retain aviation personnel. A follow-up event is planned for April 2012.

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Source: Flight International