Boeing points out that the airline industry as a whole cannot afford to downplay the task represented by the need to train massive numbers of skilled personnel for the future. Its chief customer officer for training and flight services, Roei Ganzarski, emphasises that the industry itself has changed and will change further - and so have the potential students who need to be attracted into aviation.

The manufacturer reminds the airlines that traditional sources of skilled personnel - particularly pilots and engineers from the military - are diminishing quickly because of military cuts. But the relative sizes of the military and the airline industry are also diverging rapidly because of commercial air transport expansion.

Meanwhile, Boeing admits that today's airline industry is losing its appeal compared with other industries. It no longer has the glamour it once did. Competing technical careers for which qualifications are far cheaper to acquire are becoming better paid and offer a more family-friendly lifestyle. Although piloting remains highly skilled, it is a computerised technical management task, rather than the hands-on experience it used to be, which means that the people who will be attracted to it could be very different.

Finally, Ganzarski predicts, the new generation will have "different learning styles". That is part of the reason for Boeing's investment in the Thales integrated training suite. But, he warns, it is not enough for Boeing and other manufacturers to recognise this: the airlines are the key, and the entire industry must work together on the task.

Source: Flight Daily News