Pilot Shortage and Pilot Job Outlook - AeroGuard Flight Training

Pilot Shortage and Pilot Job Outlook

One of the ways to ensure a successful career is by choosing a career that is consistently in need, a career that is in high demand. The aviation industry is crucial to the United States economy and therefore will always be a promising career opportunity, with the salary and benefits to match.

Upcoming Pilot Shortage and Pilot Demand

Due to factors like growing consumer demand and flight routes, as well as forced retirement of many current pilots, Boeing is estimating that more than 700,000 commercial pilots will be needed worldwide by the year 2039. In North America alone, there are over 200,000 pilots that will be needed to cover current pilot retirements and industry growth over the next 20 years.

Over the last few years, experts have done an extensive analysis on new pilot certificates and ratings being issued compared to the number of pilots that are going to be needed over the next 20 years. They’ve taken into account not only current pilots who would need to retire but also the growth of new planes entering the industry that would need to be filled. The data is showing that the number of new pilots entering in the industry is extremely lacking meaning there is a large looming pilot shortage.

What this means for current pilots, as well as pilots currently in and soon to enter training, is that Pilot Salaries and benefits can be expect to rise and improve as airlines look to fill this gap in their supply chain and secure the pilots that they need. Not only this but signing bonuses and other benefits may also grow and improve as airlines compete for the best pilots available. It truly is a sellers’ market, and a great time to prepare for this coming demand.

North America Pilot Demand
Pilot Shortage 2.0

Pilot Job Outlook & Retirements

The required retirement age for commercial airline pilots is 65 as mandated by the FAA. Due to prior hiring and retention techniques by the airlines, a large amount of their workforce is due to retire due to this rule in the coming five years. Looking at the most popular major airline carriers, they are expected to have almost 20,000 pilots retire by the end of 2025. This is when retirements will be at their peak, making room for pilots from regional carriers to move up to the majors and those graduating from flight school able to enter into the regionals at high demand. Given that it can take 2-3 years for a student to earn all their certifications and ratings as well as the 1500 hours required to work for an airline, the time is now to begin training to become a pilot. Those who start training now will be in prime position to ride the retirement wave into the workforce and help fill the pilot shortage.

Growing Demand for Air Travel

Beyond merely backfilling these retired airline pilots, the demand for air travel continues to grow over the long term as the primary way to travel around the country. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, from 2010 to 2018, Domestic annual airline passengers in the US grew 25%. To match this growing demand, airlines are adding additional routes and planes to their fleet to best serve their audience. As of 2020, between Boeing and Airbus combined, there are a total of over 12,000 unfilled aircraft orders made by the airlines.

With approximately 12 pilots required for each aircraft (covering different days and different flights), this equates to approximately 144,000 pilot required to fly these planes that are still to be delivered to the airlines.

Between growing demand for air travel and forced retirement of many of the current pilot workforce, it is a very good time to be in training as a new pilot to fill this coming demand, and be on the front wave of the hiring to come.

Pilot Demand in History – The Effects of COVID-19

While we know the aviation history has been affected by COVID-19, history shows us that these times don’t last. Over the last 50 years, the United States has experienced a number of economic crises that too have had a negative effect on the aviation industry. The most notable crises being the oil crisis, the gulf crisis, 9/11 attacks, SARS, the global financial crisis of 2008, and the 2013 recession. After every shock to the U.S. economy, data shows that the airline growth not only returned to previous numbers within 1-3 years, but then accelerated. In fact, every 15 years, on average, the airline industry has doubled in size. Industry experts are expecting the same from the 2020 pandemic. In fact, due to the early retirements encouraged by the airline to cut costs during COVID-19, the impact in the coming years could be even greater than it would have otherwise been.

Economic Growth after Worldwide Crisis COVID19

Begin Your Career Today!