Boeing: ‘2,1 million aviation workers needed next 20 years’

According to the American aerospace manufacturer Boeing, global aviation will need 2,1 million new employees over the next 20 years due to the growth of its commercial aircraft fleet.

That fleet is expected to nearly double to 47 080 commercial aircraft by 2041, Boeing says in its new Pilot and Technician Outlook (PTO), which it announced Monday. Due to a lack of personnel, many European and American airports are currently experiencing long queues, and numerous flights are being canceled or delayed.

To maintain all these aircraft and keep them flying, it is necessary to have many staff members: 602 000 new pilots, 610 000 maintenance technicians, and 899 000 cabin crew. Boeing’s forecast issued this year is 3,4% higher than in 2021.

“As aviation recovers from the pandemic and plans for long-term growth, we expect stable and increasing demand for personnel and also continued demand for proper training,” Boeing said.

Rush to pilot training?

Europe, China, and North America account for more than half of the workforce demand Boeing anticipates. The strongest growing aviation regions are Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. The projections exclude Russia because of Western sanctions against it over the war in Ukraine.

More specifically, topping the list of needs for new aviation staff is North America, which will need 128 000 new pilots, 134 000 new technicians, and 173 000 new cabin crew.

Europe is not far behind with a need for 122 000 new pilots, 120 000 new technicians, and 207 000 new cabin crew, or a total of 449 000 people. Southeast Asia will need 50 000, 58 000, and 85 000. China 126 000, 124 000 and 162 000, respectively.

60 000 pilots needed

According to a study by American management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, published in June last year, if no additional measures are taken, the global shortage of pilots will rise to as many as 60 000 pilots in the next seven years.

Boeing’s new personnel demand is calculated based on a 20-year fleet forecast for commercial aircraft with more than 30 seats. By analyzing fleet growth, aircraft utilization, attrition rates, and regional crewing differences specific to aircraft type, Boeing’s PTO estimates the number of new pilots, maintenance technicians, and cabin crew members that will be needed worldwide.

Also notable: many European airports are currently facing a shortage of ground handlers. The Boeing report does not say anything about such a shortage, perhaps because such profiles can be filled more easily without needing specific schooling and training.

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