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The pilot shortage - statistics & facts

The aviation sector has been hit in recent times with a growing demand for new pilots as the airline industry continues to experience global shortages in the number of certified pilots. In the next 20 years, airlines in North America alone are going to be in need of around 130,000 new pilots.

Reasons for the shortage

One of the reasons for the experienced shortage in airline pilots is due to the rigorously expensive application process for becoming an airline pilot, especially in the United States. Prospective pilots are personally responsible for securing their own FAA credentials. Over 100,000 U.S. dollars may be spent just for flight training and education thus discouraging others from pursuing a career in the aviation industry.

Another reason for the experienced pilot shortage in the U.S. was the implementation of stricter hiring standards by the FAA for entry-level pilots, after a series of highly publicized airplane accidents. This led to mandating additional certification and higher flight time requirements for prospective pilots.

The pandemic has drastically reduced the number of flights, which had a direct effect on pilots

The coronavirus pandemic had a tremendous impact on the aviation industry, reducing the number of flights by more than half in 2020. This led to a surplus of pilots and airlines having to offer them early retirement packages and letting go of too many flight attendants in order to cut down their costs.

Now that air travel has been catching up, many airlines have been forced into a reduction in the number of flight schedules due to a shortage of pilots and crew, leading to a sudden surge in the number of flight cancellations.

The pilot shortage will be accelerated once the pandemic ends

As the size of the aircraft fleet will continue to increase worldwide, coupled with the recovery of air travel to 2019 levels by 2023, the pilot shortage will be imminent. Additionally, in the next few years, a very large proportion of current pilots will reach retirement age leaving a considerable gap of expertise. Projections show the global pilot shortage could reach 50,000 pilots by 2025.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 25 most important statistics relating to "The pilot shortage".


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