Aviation recruitment expert reports ‘airline funded training’ is answer to pilot shortage

A new report, compiled by AeroProfessional, claims that the impending pilot skills shortage would best be tackled by reintroducing airline funded training rather than relying on pilots to finance their own development.

Both Boeing and Airbus have predicted the need for as many as 617,000 pilots over the next twenty years and airlines are feeling the effects of shifting training costs onto individual pilots now that there are fewer pilots qualifying every year. Even when the newly-qualified pilots do approach airlines for jobs, they are often turned away because they don’t have enough flying hours.

The report from AeroProfessional, an aviation HR and recruitment specialist consultancy, investigates what airlines can do to avoid the pilot skills shortage, which has to be combatted in order to keep growing fleets active. The whitepaper compiles the views of various industry representatives in order to deliver solutions to help airlines tackle the pilot skills shortage.

“Put simply, being a pilot isn’t the dream job it once was, and our report shows that the investment currently outweighs the benefits.”

Sam Sprules, a Director at AeroProfessional said, “The three main reasons for a pilot skills shortage are the cost of training, the type rating requirements and their respective fees, and the pay and conditions. So as you can see, it largely boils down to monetary issues. Put simply, being a pilot isn’t the dream job it once was, and our report shows that the investment currently outweighs the benefits.

“Airline funded training is not a new idea, and was much more commonplace around 20 years ago. We have to re-introduce this to tackle the shortage, as the current self-funding model will not sustain the shortfall,” Sam concludes.

Sam argues that the investment from airlines is crucial, as they otherwise stand to pay the biggest price of the pilot skills shortage. “A grounded aircraft could cost an airline up to £775k per day,” says Sam. “Flying could become unsafe due to overworked pilots and candidate poaching will be fierce. This isn’t a worst case scenario, but a very real picture of where aviation is headed if the skills shortage isn’t tackled now.”

​Other suggestions found in the report include reaching out to future pilots while they are still at school, and increasing or staggering the retirement age. The full report can be accessed here.