Industry leader says pilot shortage 'unprecedented'

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing says airlines will need to find nearly 800,000 pilots within 20 years to keep up with the massive growth in the aviation industry.

In the company's 2018 outlook, Boeing said they expect the number of aircraft to double in just two decades.

Keith Cooper, vice president of training & professional services at Boeing, said as well as there being more aircraft, the pool of trained pilots is shrinking.

"Despite strong global air traffic growth, the aviation industry continues to face a pilot labour supply challenge, raising concern about the existence of a global pilot shortage in the near-term," he said. 

The demand for technicians dropped however, mainly due to aircraft being able to fly longer before needing any maintenance.

As well as pilots, there will need to be a new generation of cabin crew employees, with the shortage expected to be 858,000.

Boeing's forecast for the next two decades in numbers:

  • More than 40,000 new aircraft will be needed.
  • US$6.3 trillion dollars is approximately how much will be spent on new aircraft.
  • Asia is by far the fastest growing region with 16,930 aircraft forecast to be delivered there.
  • North America and Europe are forecast to need 8,800 and 8,490 aircraft respectively.
  • Of the 790,000 pilots needed, 635,000 will be needed in the commercial aviation sector, 96,000 for business jets and 59,000 for helicopters.
  • Asia will need 261,000 new pilots; North America will need 206,000.
  • Approximately 320,000 cabin crew will be needed in the Asia-Pacific region alone.