By Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M retrieved from Flickr

A quick update on Pilot Demand. Much of this is pulled from the new report published by the site.

From a US perspective this website is showing a demand of approx 43,000 – 53,000 pilot jobs in the next 20 years (2,150-2,650 pilots per year average). About 24,000 in the next ten years (about 2400 pilots per year average- However think of more of it on the back end of the 10 years). I’ve done alot of work with Boeing’s Fleet Projections for North America. I’ve calculated Pilot Projections from Boeing’s numbers using the pilot staffing per fleet type averages obtained from multiple airlines. IE CRJ 10 pilots per aircraft, etc.

If we overlay the pilot retirements with the pilots needed to supplement Boeing’s projected Growth over the next 20 years, the first ten years shows a projection of roughly 33,000 pilots (3,300 pilots per year average) , and then for the next 20 years a need of about 70,000 pilots (3,500 pilots per year average). This is for US Pilot Demand. The curve really starts to incline starting around 2019-2020. This is all very encouraging for current pilots. Will we see two year upgrades? Probably, not. Will we see 4-7 year upgrades and 10-12 year upgrades at majors? Likely   

Matter of fact the trend for SouthWest Airlines will improve a great deal starting around 2020. If you are hired that year your upgrade time will drop to about 10-12 years.
Since the FAA hasn’t done anything about there proposed rule making for 121 requirements, I’ve started to become very optimistic about the future of the 121 world for pilots. The longer they hold the 1500 hour requirement the better for pilots.
There are a couple definitions of Shortage that I should use to clarify my thoughts on it.
Economics Definition –Economists define shortages when quantity demanded is greater than the quantity supplied at the market price.
ie -right now there is a shortage of gas at the pump for a $1.00 . That’s why we pay 3-4$ for it.
Do I believe we will have an Economics defined shortage in the right seats of the regional airlines in the future? Its very likely, and that will force regional airlines to pay more for regional first officers. Instead of a 1$ they will have to pay 3$ or some sort of increase.
Websters Definition : A deficiency : insufficiency – Google Definition : “A state or situation in which something needed cannot be obtained in sufficient amounts: “a shortage of hard cash”; “food shortages”.”
Do I believe we will have the public perception of a Shortage, where even with more compensation they will be unable to obtain pilots? Very unlikelyin 2013 the FAA says we will have over 116,000 Student Pilot Certificates in circulation, 192,000 Private Pilot Certificates, 114,250 Commercial Pilot Certificates, 143,000 ATP Certificates, 312,000 of those pilots will be Instrument Rated. This year they project there will be over 608,000 Pilots in the States.
In 2010 they certified over 4000 new CFI’s which was consistent throughout the first decade. When our yearly demand for pilots begins to approach or exceed these numbers we will see a bit more supply pressure. If the 1500 hour requirement holds that supply pressure will happen sooner, which will help pilots since the industry is unlikely to exceed a demand of about 2000 pilots a year until 2019.

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