Boeing expects Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific to require an additional 25,000 pilots and aviation professionals over the next two decades to meet the growing demand for air travel.
The manufacturer’s 2015-2034 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook forecasts a need for 12,000 new pilots and 13,000 new maintenance engineers (technicians) in the region as airlines in the region expand their networks and more passengers take to the skies.
Boeing’s pilot and maintenance engineer outlook was guided by the manufacturer’s Current Market Outlook, which has forecast 38,050 new aircraft deliveries in the 20-year period between 2015-2034.
Overall, the Asia Pacific region was expected to need about 226,000 new airline pilots and 238,000 new technicians over the next two decades, with China requiring the bulk of those jobs.
The estimates were up from 216,000 new pilots and 224,000 new technicians in Boeing’s 2014-2033 outlook.
Boeing Flight Services vice president Sherry Carbary stated the Asia Pacific region had sufficient infrastructure to ensure the demand for new pilots and technicians could be met.
However, Carbary noted there was the need for more flight training schools to be based in the region so that cadets did not have to travel to Australia, Europe or the United States to complete their training.
Boeing Flight Services is the teaching and training arm of the manufacturing giant.
The company plans to add a 737 full flight simulator to its Shanghai campus to support the growth in low-cost carriers in China and will shortly open a new training campus in Moscow.
“But we can’t do it alone. This has to be a partnership with the airlines, with all of the aircraft manufacturers and the simulator manufacturers working with government, working with high schools and universities, to come together to ensure we have a robust pipeline of aviation professionals to serve this growing market,” Carbary told reporters during a conference call on Thursday.
In terms of the next generation, Carbary said the aviation sector need to do a better job highlighting to those yet to enter the workforce the high-tech nature of aviation, whether as a pilot, maintenance engineer or software engineer.
“When you think building and engineering the airplanes that both Boeing and Airbus are producing today, it doesn’t get any more high-tech than that,” Carbary said.
“When you look at a flight deck of a 787 and you are a pilot, there is nothing more exciting than to be flying that airplane and as a mechanic you are no longer just working on the mechanical side of the airplane, you are basically a software engineer as well.
“It is a really cool place to be if I were somebody starting out and looking at a career.”
Carbary said women were an important demographic in helping ensure there was a sufficient pipeline of suitably qualified people to meet the needs of tomorrow’s aviation industry, noting that just six per cent of all pilots in the United States were women.
The Boeing executive described the difficulties for female pilots trying to raise a family and fly as a “false barrier”.
Moreover, the growing number of low-cost carriers would encourage more women to become pilots, given they primarily operated short-haul routes.
“With the low-cost carriers basically exploding in China right now – they are popping up and they are being very successful – we are going to see I think more opportunities because those are short-haul flights and very easy to get home at night,” Carbary said.
“I think women could serve a huge role in becoming short-haul pilots around the world.”