The business aviation industry needs actions rather than words to avoid the crippling effect of a pilot shortage.

“It has been talked about for years – but it is actually here. Operators are beginning to see it happening to them and don’t know how to react,” Coleen Kelly, vice president of talent acquisition at aviation advisory firm Mente Group, warned at last week's NBAA show in Orlando.

Over the next 17 years the air transport and business aviation will need to hire almost 800,000 pilots – some 100,000 just for business aviation.

“The reason we are seeing the shortage today is that we are losing a large percentage of our pilots because of the incentives the commercial airlines are making,” Kelly says

“We are seeing an increase in hiring from freight airlines and the majors, They are making it so competitive financially that we are seeing the younger pool of talent – the 20s and the 30s – leaving business aviation because the long-term compensation benefits far outweigh the benefit that person might receive simply from quality of life.”

Kelly says some flight departments are blinkered. “If a flight department says ‘I don’t have an airline problem, my guys won’t go to the airlines’, they need to know that if one person leaves from a competitor across the field you can bet your buddy over there will be poaching from you. We all have a problem because of the poaching. There simply are not enough people entering the industry to meet today’s demands let alone the future’s.”

She argues that organisations like NBAA need to create regional task forces to look at recruitment and training.

Source: Flight Daily News