They have become a rare currency.. Is the world experiencing a severe shortage of pilots? | Economie


The Corona epidemic forced the suspension of more than 90% of flights during the first months of the virus’ spread, forcing a number of pilots to retire or look for other work.

There is no talk in Britain except about a shortage of workers and manpower in various fields, which has caused stifling crises in the country, the latest of which is the fuel crisis. However, new warnings come this time from airlines that are also suffering from a severe shortage of pilots.

The features of this crisis began to appear with the gradual return of air traffic to a level close to the recorded during the period before the Corona epidemic, and after the lifting of many travel restrictions.

The Corona epidemic forced the suspension of more than 90% of flights during the first months of the virus’ spread, forcing a number of British pilots to retire or look for other work.


The British newspaper, “Telegraph”, revealed that British airlines began to feel the signs of a shortage of pilots, 19 months after the almost halt in global air traffic.

The size of the shortage will reach 34,000 pilots by 2025; That is, within less than 3 years, although the crisis is not only the result of the epidemic, the airlines did not expect the signs of the crisis to appear quickly, based on expectations that air traffic will not recover until 2024.

The number of pilots who retired, were laid off or resigned more than doubled during the epidemic period compared to normal periods, and the situation was exacerbated by the non-hiring of pilots and the suspension of a number of pilot training programs during the epidemic period.

The world will need 34,000 pilots by 2025, and the number may reach 50,000 in a worst-case scenario (Getty Images)

Aging pilots

The severe shortage of pilots in Britain – and even in the United States – is also explained by the arrival of a large number of pilots to the age of retirement, and according to a report by the American financial institution “COWEN”, the number of pilots who have reached retirement age in the five largest companies in America The year 2017 reached more than 1,266 and will reach its peak in 2025, when 2,641 pilots will retire.

And the path to compensate all these pilots will not be easy, because Western military institutions no longer train pilots in the same numbers as they did decades ago, and training through private companies requires a lot of money and time, as well as the delay in these trainings due to stopping for months during the epidemic. .

Back to fly

The numbers – on global air traffic – show the return of aircraft to fly heavily after lifting travel restrictions in most countries of the world, and the percentage of aircraft that returned to work reached 76% in the world, while in China, the movement of air has returned by 99%.

Despite the high waits at airports; It is still at record levels due to the procedures for spacing and examining documents at airports, but expectations indicate the return of 75% of the number of passengers by the beginning of next year 2022.

When will the pilots crisis erupt?

According to the estimates of the “Oliver Wyman” Foundation – an American institution for strategic and economic studies – the pilot shortage crisis will erupt by 2023 or before, if air traffic continues to recover in the same way as is currently recorded.

According to the same institution, the world will need 34,000 pilots by 2025, and the number may reach 50,000 pilots in the worst scenarios.

A number of European airlines are asking governments to provide financial support for pilot training programs (Getty Images)

Which area is most affected?

The manifestations of this crisis differ according to regions, depending on the demand in each continent, as well as the ability of these regions to train and compensate pilots who have reached retirement age.

The statistical analyzes of the American Foundation found that there are 3 regions that will be affected the most, namely, North America, Asia and the Middle East, and this is due to the high demand in these regions and the strength of the airlines present in them, which are able to expand their activities during the next few years. In contrast, Europe and Africa may succeed in exceeding this crisis.

In North America, for example, the aviation sector is witnessing the departure of large numbers of pilots due to their retirement age, despite raising the retirement age for pilots to 65 years old, and the shortage in the number of pilots is expected to reach 12 thousand pilots by 2023, which represents 13% of the total demand in the aviation market in North America.

In Asia the situation will be similar to what it is in North America; However, it may be delayed by a few years, and at best it may be postponed to the year 2029, and this is due to the fact that a number of companies there are still newly established or have extensively renovated all of their structures during the past few years.

As for Europe, it is expected that European companies will succeed in overcoming this crisis during the next four years, that is, by 2026.

A number of European airlines have asked governments to provide financial support for pilot training programs, given that they are very expensive programs, in order to encourage a larger number of people to enter the world of aviation.

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