Steps to Resolve the Pilot Shortage in the Aviation Industry

1002 words (4 pages) Essay in Aviation

18/05/20 Aviation Reference this

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Abstract

This research topic is intended to evaluate the current situation in aviation industry worldwide, especially within the USA with shortage of pilots. Factors leading to this current condition are further discussed in the paper along with possible recommendations to resolve the situation. The airline industry across the globe is growing at a very fast pace, which means more manpower will be required to keep up with the operational requirements for smooth operations. As stated by financial gurus and the aviation experts, there will be a pilot shortage hitting the global civil aviation industry very soon. USA alone will experience a shortage of pilots in a manner that will stager the air travel industry, which is one of the most safe and cost efficient way to travel. Furthermore, passing of HR 5900 mandate by congress has added fuel to the fire. The focus of this research paper is on the lack of pilots in the United States, the financial aspect of it and the laws and regulations that has made it difficult to fill in the gap. Also, it will identify and discuss solutions to overcome the shortage without compromising safety.

Introduction

There is an exponential growth in the airline industry across the world. Newer countries and cities have being joined on the route map laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) around the world. The continued growth of the  aviation industry has is estimated to be three times in size over the period of next 20 years. As per the data released by Boeing to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), within the upcoming 20 years, there will be more than 41,000 new aircrafts in service with commercial as well as cargo air carriers (Boeing, 2017). This will require a huge amount of human resources to keep the operation running smoothly. The growth of such size requires more flight crew ready to operate these aircrafts, as they will be added in service in the near future. As per US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), passengers travelling to and from USA will increase from 220 million in 2016 to 470 million in 2037 (Travelers TO/FROM US, 2016). The graph below shows this prediction by FAA in its publication FAA Aerospace Forecast 201-2036

Aviation industry gains like Boeing and Airbus estimates a Pilot shortage of on a global scale hindering the operations in an efficient manner. After analyzing the situation, Boeing mentioned on their website “Over the next 20 years, the Asia Pacific region will lead the worldwide growth in demand for pilots, with a requirement for 253,000 new pilots. North America will require 117,000, Europe 106,000, the Middle East 63,000, Latin America 52,000, Africa 24,000 and CIS / Russia 22,000” (Boeing, 2017). As per the analysis, over 630,000 new pilots will be required in the next 20 years with 117,000 required in the North America region alone.

Economic theories state that supply and demand are always coincident. When one parameter decreases (supply) the other automatically increases (demand) and vice versa. In civil aviation, as the demand for pilot is increasing, the supply of new pilots is decreasing. This is occurring in three different patterns. Firstly, older pilots are retiring, secondly there is a substantial decrease in the number of new pilots being put out and finally government rules require newer pilots to have more experience to be qualified to operate an aircraft carrying passengers.

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This research will focus on the facts and figures that’s leading the aviation industry to a serious shortage of pilots in the very near future, especially within the North America. It will also discuss stringent steps government rules associated with minimum pilot experience required to fly passenger operations.

As there is a day after darkness, the aviation industry started seeing light and progress slowly and steadily from the year 2014. The regional as well as the legacy airlines started picking up business and expanding and serving more destinations within and outside the USA. The legacy airlines started providing more flying time to its regional airline partners and the regional airlines grew more than twice its size due to these contracts, just with the five year period. The supply and demand issue discussed in economics has now started occurring seen in the airline industry. As each of these airline industry grew, this required more man power resulting in an increase in the demand for pilots. However, on the other hand due to the lack of financial motivation and other factors associated, the supply of pilots had already started declining.

The minimum experience requires has been increased from a minimum of  250 hours all the way up-to 1500 flight hours to pilot an airliner carrying passengers. This may seem as a quick fix to the problems like human error but it is failing the industry on a longer run (U.S. Civil Airmen Statistics, 2016). The fact is, aviation industry in United States has a major crisis at hand. On one hand, the industry is growing by leaps and bounds and on the other, there is a huge shortage of the man force that is crucial in running this industry. We shall address this issue on various fronts that is the reason of this situation not being resolved.

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