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​Boeing ups forecast for Asia-Pacific pilot demand

Boeing has revised upwards its forecast for new pilots in Asia-Pacific for the next two decades.

Boeing foresees carriers in the region requiring 226,000 fresh pilots for the years running to 2034, up from 216,000 last year.

Of these, 44% will be needed in China, 25% in Southeast Asia, and 18% in South Asia. The balance will be needed in Northeast Asia, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the southwest Pacific.

“The changed forecast follows our current market outlook growth for aircraft,” says Sherry Carbary, vice-president for Flight Services at Boeing.

She notes that Asia Pacific carriers are taking large numbers of both widebody and narrowbody aircraft, which will “drive the additional number of pilots needed, and airlines’ unique requirements for crew.”

She made the remarks during a conference call with Asia-Pacific journalists to launch the 2015 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook.

The region will also need 238,000 new technicians over the next 20 years. Of these, 45% will be needed in China, 25% in Southeast Asia, and 16% in South Asia.

In late August, Boeing’s latest current market outlook forecast increased demand for aircraft. It was especially bullish on China, saying that the country will need 6,330 new aircraft over the next 20 years, up from its prediction last year of 6,020.

“The demand for 464,000 new pilots and maintenance technicians [globally] is a large number, and it translates into challenging, high-tech career opportunities for those who are interested in aerospace,” says Carbary. “Boeing invests heavily in inspiring the next generation of pilots and technicians, and we continuously introduce students to our industry.”

One challenge for the sector is attracting young people, she says. She indicates that there may be a perception among the younger generation that the aviation industry is not regarded as ‘high tech.’

“Kids are growing up with smartphones and gadgets, so they’re looking at Google and Apple,” she says. “We haven’t done a good job branding the industry as high technology, but it doesn’t get any more high tech than the aircraft we’re producing today. Mechanics are now software engineers as well, troubleshooting issues.”

In regard to training facilities in the region, Carbary says there is sufficient supply for aircraft type training, however it still requires more ab initio and basic training facilities for aspiring pilots.

In addition, she sees continued strong demand for foreign pilots in the region as Asian first officers build hours and gain experience.

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