— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on May 17, 2018, Thursday.
Pilot shortage has become a common phenomenon in airline companies; the reason is that the significant increase of air passengers caused the pilot shortage. First, let's tell a story.
The 23-year-old U.S. pilot Amanda has four years working experience in aircraft and she currently works for three local airlines. She said that the strong market demand for pilots has caused airlines to provide generous pay.
[Amanda Larson] "They know its competitive that they need to offer the best in order to get the pilots because we'll just go somewhere else with a little bit better pay and fly the same thing."
Another reason for pilot shortage in the U.S. is that old and experienced pilots have to retire compulsorily if they are 65, while the number of novice is not catching up with the number of aircraft added by the airline, so there is a shortage of such talent. Just now we also said that this was already a global phenomenon.
The data of this chart shows that in the next 20 years, airlines around the world will face a shortage of approximately 637,000 pilots. Among them, there is a shortage of 117,000 in North America and 106,000 in Europe. In the Asia-Pacific region, we see a greater number of shortages, reaching 253,000.
On a global scale, the increase in passengers traveling by commercial aircraft may continue this year's trend. Look at this chart, it shows that the current number of passengers traveling by air each year has exceeded 3 billion than that in 1975.
Among them, demand from China is the main growth driver. According to the prediction of the International Air Transport Association, China will replace the United States as the world's largest air passenger transport market by 2022. The U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing predicts that in the next 20 years, Chinese airlines will purchase 7,000 commercial aircraft, which means that China will need to hire 110,000 new pilots. Pilot training is the primary challenge. This is why many Chinese airlines are acquiring foreign flying schools or sending pilots to overseas flying schools for training.
While expanding the scale of overseas training, China's major airlines also adopt the following strategies: intensity the recruit to attract more foreign pilots. For example, experts have stated that many foreign pilots who were in Central America, Latin America or Europe before may be able to get four times their original salary, if they come to China. In the past 10 years, China's starting salary for foreign pilots has increased from 10,000 US dollars to 26,000 US dollars per month. So these tax-free and high-paying jobs have attracted a great number of overseas talents to work in China. At the same time, developing countries also have strong demand, like India, it is also adopting the same strategy. This has caused airlines in the United States and the Middle East, such as Emirates, to cut off some of their airlines and reduce flights, because they face shortages of pilots. Analysts told CNBC that we may see more such situations appear.
[Michael Boyd, The Boyd Group Chairman] "What we are gonna see is air serivce might have been viable 10 years ago wont be viable in the future."
Therefore, in the next ten to twenty years, it is not difficult to predict that the pilot will continue to be one of the hottest and most popular jobs in the world. The battle for talent among the airlines in various countries may just begin.