Getting new and well-trained airline pilots has been one of the main concerns in most airlines. The main reason for the shortage of qualified pilots varies from region to region. For instance, in the US., people are forced to retire once they reach a certain age. The reason could also be due to barriers to entry, like the high cost of pilot training.
Moreover, think about the small number of pilots leaving the military. In other places, the reason could be the ever-increasing demand for consumers seeking air travel. So, the regions are struggling to cater to this capacity while maintaining aviation safety as Simon Davies explains.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, things changed from having a shortage of pilots to having a surplus. Fewer airlines have been in operation, and the travel restrictions have led to a fall in demand for airplanes. That means more and more pilots do not have jobs.
However, this surplus is not meant to last. Even though many places have been unbanned for traveling, more people are still living with fear and choose not to travel. Things are going back to normal but we do not expect 100% normalcy.
The toll this virus has taken on the aviation industry might threaten some of the airlines’ ability to recover and go back to their normal growth in various regions.
When The Demand Returns
There is no specific day known when the demand will return to full capacity. By 2024, the consumer demand might have fully returned. However, not much can be said about the pilots. Globally, airlines have recovered about 76 percent but there is still a lot that needs to be done.
Before the start of the pandemic, airlines were providing affordable training programs as well as finances. However, when COVID-19 came along, airlines were under too much pressure and these programs were put to a halt. Even some of the banks that were financing these programs are rethinking the move.
In the end, the career that seemed the most lucrative and stable now feels a bit insecure. By the time COVID-19 is gone, many of these pilots will have other better opportunities. In the end, they have to feed their families. A large number of pilots will have chosen alternative careers that feel more secure.
The big question is not whether the shortage will happen. The most crucial thing to ponder on is when this change will occur and the size of the gap between the demand and supply. Will the airlines be able to meet the demand for the pilots? It is believed that a pilot shortage will occur in various regions in the next few years.
The Next Move
Airlines still have the chance to rebuild and regrow after COVID-19. However, they need to know the next move in case this shortage comes. One way to survive this is by reducing the pilot demand.
That means improving crew productivity. They also need to invest in these training programs and engage their workforce. The recovery of airlines’ operations will depend on their ability to regrow the pilot’s demand. Taking action now will enable the airline to cover demand as it unfolds.