Strong Pilot Demand: Inside the Black Box of Pilot Shortage Globally

Post date: 22 March

There has been a large global shift in the way travel has been approached in the last few years, but now that everyday life and the wider economy are settling back down after the rules and restrictions of Covid 19, there are new challenges to be faced. Right now, there is a widespread pilot shortage that is fast beginning to outweigh demand, so it’s never been more important for the industry to provide the well-trained talent.

The number of flights and passenger travel in accordance with active fleets will dictate the demand for pilots – and as the industry’s needs have gone from limited flights to increased travel spending, there is a discrepancy quickly forming between the two. In fact, there was a shortage emerging before the pandemic, so the situation was all but delayed before being propelled further. There are actually a host of factors contributing to the projected shortage of around 600,000 pilots by 2040, including pilot entry age/retirement age, evolving training requirements for piloting new fleets and more, making it even more important for the industry to evolve and cater to the new needs and demand.


Current State of the Airline Industry


Covid-19 had such a dramatic impact on the world that even basic, everyday functions were hugely shifted. While many industries, sectors and businesses were hit, the aviation industry in particular was significantly changed in more ways than just restricted flights and healthcare protocol. There were wider ramifications for the niche, including pilots being furloughed, borders being closed, different countries and destinations having specific (and often unique) rules, closures of major training centres, a loss of trust and more that led to work availability being lowered and many airlines struggling to instate a feasible growth plan that would suit the needs of the workforce as well as the passengers and more.



The good news is that these issues are being addressed and resolved as everything returns to a more normal way of operation, but with the added bonus of a new understanding. Right now, airlines are projecting operating profitability by the end of 2023 (for the first time in the last three years) and air passenger demand is set to exceed that of 2019 by around 4% in 2024 and this is due to the industry efforts to:


  • realign salaries,
  • improve flight training,
  • expand airlines,
  • increase fight numbers and,
  • boost the number of candidates not only pursuing certification to fly commercially but also having a “long-haul” career.


With this last point in mind, flight schools like Egnatia Aviation are bringing a more comprehensive level of training to the industry, while driving better ways to get new pilots on the tarmac. For instance, not only are European flight schools among the most competitively priced in the world, but Egnatia works alongside airlines to create partnerships, sponsorships and job opportunities on a recommendation-based system that airline recruiters can access to better-match potential candidates with the right roles. If you are interested in becoming a professional airline pilot, you can:

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An In-Depth Look at Global Pilot Demand


As briefly mentioned above, there are a host of factors that are playing a huge role in pilot demand, so it is important for those in the wider industry to understand how to target the aspects causing issues.

For instance, the price-point of flight training dictates that older, more financially established men would be able to afford the education and enter roles over a younger demographic who would opt for more financially viable careers. This increased the overall age of pilots and shortened the average years spent working, which then caused a more defined retirement age. To support this, the average age for pilots in the US in 2020 was 45.3 years old and industry experts are now looking to raise the average retirement age from 60 to 65. Nowadays, flight schools can see how these instances can be avoided by lowering costs and improving job entry upon graduation.

The average pilot age has also had another impact in more recent years; as technology progresses and fleets become better equipped, traditional training isn’t up to scratch anymore. This means that older pilots now need to be retrained or simply won’t be able to man newer aircraft. As one of the leading flight schools in Europe, Egnatia has a large fleet of new generation Diamond aircraft in Europe (comprising 18 training aircraft), 6 ALSIM simulators and more to help new pilots train with nothing short of the leading technology.

With airlines and flight schools across the globe reacting to the potential ramifications that will come with an even greater global pilot shortage, we should hopefully be able to avoid issues like reduced flight capacity, increased costs for travellers and more.


Projected Demand for Airline Pilots


Each year, Boeing presents a Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) forecast. The projections for 2022 stated that many domestic markets would be all but recovered in the years following the pandemic, with the global fleet increasing by 80% in the next 20 years. The report states that more than half of the passenger jets in use by 2041 will feature new, updated tech and will be designed to bring a more fuel-efficient, economic approach to the aviation industry. New aeroplanes will be distributed like this:


  • Asian markets – 40%
  • Europe and North America – 20%
  • Other regions – 15%


Airlines are beginning to think about expansion to meet demand, for example, one of the newer names in the niche, Wizz Air, is setting up a new airline subsidiary in Malta. United Airlines and Air Canada have major expansion plans set for new flight paths for the summer of 2023. These types of expansions will help airlines to meet the coming air travel demands. With Egnatia Aviation, our international graduates fly for airlines in 61+ countries.

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Flight Training of the Airline Pilots of the Future


Of course, training is especially important in the aviation sector, as no one wants to have distrust in the person operating their aircraft, but the right training supersedes just the safety of passengers. A highly-trained pilot will have the ability to not only successfully fly an aircraft, but will also act as a cornerstone of the trustworthiness and professionalism of the airline. In all cases, it is extremely important for flight academies to teach soft skills, promote teamwork, a proactive attitude, calm under pressure and even poise.

As there is a drive in the industry to lower the average pilot age, schools like Egnatia are pulling out all of the stops to ensure that they not only have top facilities and expert tutors but also its courses are accessible and meet the needs of a more diverse demographic. For instance, Egnatia Aviation, as of 2023 operates its own General Aviation ‘Lydia Aerodrome’, fully equipped to train the pilots of the future, today. As pilot demand is going up, it is more important now than ever to be able to take advantage of the:


  • increased enrolment numbers of Egnatia for advanced flight training programs, designed with the needs of modern airlines in mind,
  • various cadet schemes, such as the Wizz Air Pilot Academy Program (WAPA),
  • deep aviation industry knowledge gained with active participation in renowned congresses, workshops, and airshows available right here.


Where we are Heading


Airline pilots are in big demand year after year so it’s important to take measures to bridge the gap before flights are reduced, airline reliability begins to suffer and costs rise for everyone involved. This is exactly why Egnatia Aviation is working hard to provide the top training facilities and opportunities to potential cadets – and the testimonials and achievements of academy alumni speak volumes about its success.

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