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Flying cadets

The aviation industry continues to see an extraordinary demand for pilots. Keith Mwanalushi looks at the current impact on airlines and the training solutions available

If you have an interest in becoming a pilot, then there is no time like the present.


Between now and 2035, Boeing predicts that the aviation industry will need to supply more than 2 million new aviation personnel, of which 617,000 will be commercial airline pilots. 


Airlines are expected to take delivery of tens of thousands of new commercial aircraft over the next 20 years. As Boeing’s latest Pilot and Technician Outlook report indicates, meeting this demand will require innovative solutions – focused on educational outreach and career pipeline programmes – to inspire the next generation of pilots.


European carrier easyJet is doing just that. In May 2017 the airline launched its largest recruitment campaign to date called ‘For the love of Flying’ to attract up to 450 new pilots. 


The airline says opportunities range from cadet pilots starting their career to experienced co-pilots and captains from other airlines and the military. All will receive access to training and a range of career development opportunities. 


“We’re really pleased that we will be opening recruitment for up to 450 new easyJet pilot positions,” said Captain Brian Tyrrell, easyJet’s Head of Flight Operations, at the announcement in May. The airline said the new recruits will join the carrier during a period of continued growth.


In the coming year easyJet will be creating new pilot positions at all of its bases. In the UK these are at its London bases: Gatwick, Luton, Southend, Stansted and elsewhere Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester.


New trainee pilots at easyJet begin their initial training through the airline’s partnering training academies; CTC Aviation, CAE and FTEJerez. The pilots will gain experience of the airline’s operations and build up their flying hours.


Once they have completed at least 12 months, pilots then join easyJet as permanent employees at second officer rank for a further year. After flying for a further two years with easyJet as a first officer, pilots will then become a senior first officer. From that stage the aim is to achieve their command and become captains. Based on the airline’s continued planned growth the time taken from first officer to captain is likely to be quicker than at other airlines.


When analysing the demand for locally-sourced and qualified pilots, Boeing’s Pilot and Technician Outlook report reveals that regional markets that have relied heavily on recruiting pilots from outside their home locations are increasingly seeking to recruit, train, and develop locally sourced pilots.


The report says in the next 20 years, the Asia-Pacific region will lead the worldwide growth in demand for pilots, with a requirement for 248,000 new pilots. North America will require 112,000, Europe 104,000, the Middle East 58,000, Latin America 51,000, the Commonwealth of Independent States/Russia 22,000, and Africa 22,000.

“The increase in demand for pilots is currently felt all over the world,” observes Egle Vaitkeviciute, Chief Executive Officer of BAA Training, one of the largest European standard aviation training centres. She says even some of the major European airlines are desperate to find qualified pilots, pointing to Asia, especially China, India and Vietnam, as critical shortage areas. 


“As the number of passengers grow, airlines are responding to this demand by ordering more aircraft and this pushes demand for crews. The fact that more airlines are now considering launching cadet programmes with aviation training centres is evidence that demand is at its height,”  Vaitkeviciute tells Low Cost & Regional Airline Business


She is convinced that the pilot training industry is responding accordingly: “We play a significant role as intermediaries between airlines and those who wish to become pilots. A cadet programme established between an airline and the aviation training centre helps to deal with this issue.”  >>

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