Boeing released its periodic Pilot & Technician Outlook at Farnborough on July 11. In hours the global media started producing stories of future doom because of the shortage and said that the new pilots trained over the next 20 years would be less qualified.
Are you serious? Really? You’re telling me that America’s starving flight training industry could not properly educate 23,025 pilots a year—a number that would meet the annual worldwide quota—to ATP standards? And of that number, North America needs only 3,450 new professional pilots a year. I searched the report and couldn’t find how many went to Canada and how many would fly in the United States.
Why is that no one seems to look past the big number: Boeing forecasts a global need for 460,500 pilots over the next 20 years. Apply some middle school math and you get the annual needs 23,025 and 3,450. What should be more disconcerting is that North America’s need for 69,000 more pilots is only 15 percent of the global total and roughly a third of Asia’s need for aviators.
Here’s an idea: Rather than our collective wringing of hands over a shortage that doesn’t exist, let’s figure out how we can incorporate language instructors into flight training faculties so schools can meet the needs of those who need the most pilots, and so pilots who don’t speak those Asian languages might have a shot at a job. –Scott