Boeing: 637,000 new pilots needed by 2036

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said he has never heard of a global shortage of pilots but according to Boeing’s latest outlook report, the industry needs more than 600,000 pilots to meet “extraordinary” demands over the next 20 years.

“Is there a shortage of pilots? No. I have never yet come across a worldwide shortage of pilots. We don’t have a shortage of pilots here at Ryanair. We have 4,200 pilots. We fully operated the entire of the summer schedule, June, July, and August, which is our busiest period of the year,” Mr O’Leary said on Monday.

Boeing’s report, the Pilot and Technician Outlook 2017-2036, published this summer indicates there will be a worldwide shortage.

“As global economies expand and airlines take delivery of tens of thousands of new commercial jetliners over the next 20 years, there is extraordinary demand for people to fly and maintain these airplanes,” it states.

“Between now and 2036, the aviation industry will need to supply more than 2m new commercial airline pilots, maintenance technicians, and cabin crew.”

That figure is broken down as 637,000 pilots, 648,000 maintenance technicians, and 839,000 cabin crew.

Boeing’s figures are 3.6% higher than the forecast of just a year ago.

The Airbus 2017 global forecast predicts some 534,000 new pilots will be needed by 2036, with this level of personnel flying passenger airliners of 100 seats or more.

Several regional carriers in the US, including Horizon Air and Republic Airways, had to cancel flights over the last number of years because of a pilot shortage.

Mr O’Leary was adamant that the actions of his airline in cancelling flights was caused by the over-rostering of pilots, not a shortage of them.

Analysis of Ryanair’s situation published by the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association yesterday referred to pilot shortage: “Ryanair (is) saying that the problem will last for about six weeks. This conveniently brings them to the winter schedule with its reduced overall crewing requirement, which is further evidence of the real problem being a shortage of flight crew.”


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