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Demand for pilots rebounds in new Boeing forecast

Mechanics, crew, other professionals also needed

Commercial aviation will need 649,000 pilots, 690,000 technicians, and 938,000 cabin crewmembers over the next 20 years, Boeing Co. forecast in the Pilot and Technician Outlook 2023–2042 released July 25 at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in Wisconsin. This year marks the first increase in the annual forecast since the pandemic cratered air travel in 2020.

Pilots with the flyExclusive private jet firm answer questions during an aviation job fair at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in Wisconsin on July 24. Photo by David Tulis.

The report, which tracks the need for personnel among commercial airlines and commercial freight, said domestic air travel has returned to pre-pandemic levels and international travel is expected to return by 2024. Chris Broom, vice president of commercial training solutions, cited growth in emerging markets and retirements and attrition in the North American market as factors in growing demand for pilots and other aviation personnel.

“The challenge for North American airlines will continue to be inspiring, developing, and training the next generation of pilots to fill the gap left by retirements and attrition,” he said. More than a quarter of the commercial pilot workforce will reach mandatory retirement age in the next decade, according to Boeing.

The need to train and recruit more pilots has driven an increase in pilot cadet programs and flow-through programs at flight schools, business and general aviation operators, regional airlines, and major airlines, Broom said. Boeing supports flight schools and universities with training curricula and is investing in early career training materials, Broom said. The company is also supporting science, technology, engineering, and math education to spark an interest in aviation careers.

“For us, diversity is not only the right thing to do. It’s a business imperative,” he said. “We have to cast a wider net to meet this pilot demand in the future.”

On July 24, the company announced $500,000 in scholarships to be administered through AOPA, the Latino Pilots Association, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, and Women in Aviation International. An additional $450,000 will go to Fly Compton, a California nonprofit that introduces minority youth to career opportunities in aerospace.

Sarah Deener
Sarah Deener
Senior Director of Publications
Senior Director of Publications Sarah Deener is an instrument-rated commercial pilot and has worked for AOPA since 2009.
Topics: EAA AirVenture, Career, Advanced Training

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