ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Pilot shortage may hinder regional growth
The looming shortage of pilots and technicians in the region is hampering the burgeoning civil aviation industry in Asia-Pacific that could account for nearly half of global air travel in the next two decades.
As in other parts of the world, there are already insufficient aviation personnel in the region to support airline fleet modernization and a surge in air travel demand.
The latest study by US0 Boeing envisages 182,300 new pilots and 247,400 new technicians would be needed in Asia-Pacific between now and 2030.
This represents 40 percent of worldwide pilot demand, estimated at 459,600 over the next 20 years.
New technicians in the region will account for 38 percent of the estimated world demand of 650,000 over that period.
"In Asia we're already beginning to see some delays and operational disruptions due to a shortage of pilots," said Roei Ganzarski, chief customer officer at Boeing Flight Services.
In Asia-Pacific, the greatest need for new aviation personnel is in China, which will require 72,700 additional cockpit staff and 108,300 technicians between 2011 and 2030.
Southeast Asia ranks second in the region with an additional demand for 47,100 pilots and 60,600 technicians over the period.
The shortage could have a greater impact in Asia-Pacific than other areas because of its fast-growing air travel market whose growth, at 7 percent a year, is estimated to surpass the world average from 2011-2030.
Furthermore, in 20 years, 48 percent of all travel in the world will be to, from, or within Asia-Pacific, according to Boeing.
Asia-Pacific will take delivery of the largest numbers of new aircraft, with 11,450 over the period, or 34 percent of the world's total.
The demand projection is based on Boeing's forecast that there will be 33,500 new aircraft, valued at about US$4 trillion, added to the skies over the next two decades.
Those new planes are projected to create business worth $2.3 trillion in aircraft service over the period. On average, the world needs to add 23,000 new pilots every year for the next 20 years.
Currently there are 237,000 pilots and around 300,000 technicians serving the global industry, said Boeing.
As the pool of pilots is being depleted at a significant rate globally, Mr. Ganzarski drove home the "need to work hard to make our industry attractive and alluring for the young, the talented, the creative, and the passionate."
Fewer people under 35 want to become pilots and are opting for careers in high technology, software development, medicine and even law.
"Compared to global icons like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple, aviation must seem dull and boring. We have lost the luster and the magic that brought most of us into this industry all those years ago," the American executive said.
"In the words of pop icon Justin Timberlake, we need to bring the sexy back in order to enlarge the pool of young people entering our pipeline."
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