Boeing Says 30,000 Pilots A Year Needed To Keep Up With Travel Growth

The airline industry is expected to (ahem) take off in the years to come.

If you’ve ever caught yourself daydreaming up at the sky, watching an airline cruise through the clouds headed to points unknown, and thought “Boy I’d love to do that”—now could be your time.

In a Yahoo Finance article, Boeing says the long-term need for pilots is huge. By the year 2035, the industry will need an additional 617,000 new pilots, which breaks out to more than 32,000 new pilots a year. Almost 700,000 maintenance people and over 800,000 cabin crew members will be needed as well.

Airline Pilot photo
Photo by Bernal Saborio G. (berkuspic)

This data came to light following Boeing’s release of its commercial market outlook, which predicted a global demand for almost 40,000 new planes at a cost of almost $6 trillion over the next two decades. This estimate is in line with rival Airbus’ recent forecast for 32,600 new aircraft by 2034, according to CNN.

Sherry Carbary, Boeing Flight Services vice president told Yahoo: “The growing middle class in emerging economies like India, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia means that people are spending more money on travel and tourism. So there is more demand for airplanes and for people to fly them around the world.”

Airline Pilot photo
Photo by wbaiv

The Asia Pacific region will need about a quarter of a million new pilots, as Carbury says an estimated 40 percent of their forecasted flights are headed to that area.

There may be some clouds in the sky, however. Captain Paul Ryder, a pilot and resource coordinator for the Air Line Pilots Association, says he is seeing a shortage of pilots applying for regional and fee-for-departure carriers due to financial packages that aren’t as robust as they need to be.

“They simply don’t offer competitive compensation packages, good working conditions, or a stable career pathway to attract people,” he says in the Yahoo article. Private carriers like NetJet may offer an attractive alternative.

In 2014, the average pilot age was 50, and the FAA requires pilots to turn in their wings at age 65. So besides the need for pilots due to the basic laws of supply and demand, more are needed because they’re simply getting older.

Looking to make a career change? Maybe flying the friendly skies will be in your future.