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Boeing prepares for pilot training surge as 787 nears service

The industry will have to train 466,650 new pilots and nearly 600,000 new technicians between now and 2029 according to the latest update of Boeing's industry training needs forecast.

The number of active pilots needed by the airlines will almost double by 2029, says Boeing, taking the total from today's 232,100 to 445,000, with Asia Pacific employing the largest block at 39% of the world total, compared with North America's 21% and Europe's 20%. This expansion will create a need to train 466,650 new pilots in the 2010-29 period.

The growth in demand for qualified technicians is almost as impressive: 180,000 today growing to 303,000 in 2029, creating a need to train a total of 596,500 new technicians during that period.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner simulator cockpit, Boeing
 © Boeing
Boeing 787 Dreamliner simulator cockpit

With All Nippon Airways only three months away from taking delivery of the first Boeing 787 to go into commercial service, the manufacturer is ramping up its pilot and maintenance training programmes to full capacity.

Since the 787 has sold an unprecedented total of 835 aircraft before service entry, Boeing's Training and Flight Services division faces a considerable challenge to help airlines meet the 787's needs for expert personnel, as well as those of its other types.

Boeing Training already has eight 787 full-flight simulators at five of its bases worldwide, backed up by an integrated suite of flight-training devices and computer-based training systems. Each customer for Boeing aircraft is offered training points per aircraft purchased, and can design a tailored training programme for its technicians or pilots.

Pilots with no previous Boeing experience can convert to the 787 in 20 working days according to the FAA-approved syllabus. Current 777 pilots can convert with a five-day differences course, and from other Boeing types it takes 13 working days to win a 787 type rating.

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