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Boeing Predicts Need for 600,000 Pilots as Shortage Looms

Aug 31,2018

Boeing has again warned of a looming pilot shortage with projections that airlines worldwide will need some 635,000 new pilots in the next 20 years.

The company's 2018 Pilot & Technician Outlook also predicts airlines will need some 622,000 more aircraft technicians by 2037.

"The pilot labor shortage has continued to tighten amidst strong global air traffic growth," says Boeing's outlook. "Fleet growth rates have been especially high in emerging markets that have a comparatively small pilot pool. This has created regional supply challenges."

Demand will be strongest in the Asia-Pacific region, where carriers will need some 240,000 pilots in 20 years, followed by North America, where Boeing projects demand for 127,000 new pilots.

European carriers will need some 118,000 new pilots, Latin American airlines will need 43,000 pilots and Middle East carriers will need 60,000 new pilots, Boeing says.

Airlines in Africa, and those in Russian and Central Asia, will each need less than 25,000, the report says.

The figures in the 2018 outlook declined slightly from Boeing's 2017 report, which forecast need for 637,000 new pilots over 20 years.

Though pilot unions have long attributed any pilot shortage to low pay, Boeing says significant training costs have contributed to insufficient new recruits.

Those costs can "easily exceed $150,000", Boeing says.

Other factors include a looming wave of pilot retirements and a lack, in some countries, China included, of sufficient training facilities.

US airlines, for instance, will lose some 8,000 pilots to retirement in the next five years, Boeing says.

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