Historic Pilot Shortage Encourages Flight Schools To Fill The Gap
When the pandemic struck, the travel industry took a devastating hit, and its repercussions were felt worldwide. With travel discouraged and close-quarters interactions limited, airlines faced substantial setbacks. Many pilots chose early retirement, and numerous employees were let go. Even as the world gradually returns to normalcy, the travel industry is still grappling with the aftermath of the peak COVID-19 months.
You might believe that this doesn’t directly impact you, especially as the world inches back to regular travel patterns. You may assume that the travel industry will eventually regain its former glory. However, the shortage of airline industry workers isn’t just a concern for the industry and its employees; it’s a catalyst for a chain reaction. With certain airlines scaling down operations, delays and cancellations are anticipated for a certain period. Connecting flights, which are essential for global travel, may also face disruptions. As summer approaches, your vacation plans are at risk, irrespective of whether you’ve booked with a major airline.
The principal driver of this ongoing predicament is the scarcity of pilots in the industry. To reestablish our airlines and get them operating at full capacity, we need more pilots to take to the skies. James Constable, Chief Marketing Officer at AeroGuard, underscores that the pilot shortage existed even before the pandemic. Despite a surge in interest in the field, the gap has only widened due to the impact of COVID-19.
Constable goes on to predict that the pilot shortage will persist for the next two decades or more. Current pilots are expected to retire within the next decade. This means that aspiring pilots currently undergoing training not only need to replace the retiring pilots but also cater to the growing demand for airline travel. In light of this, discussions in Congress have centered on raising the airline pilot retirement age from 65 to 67.
Becoming a pilot entails a minimum of two years of flight training and certification, making it challenging to produce pilots as quickly as the industry needs. Moreover, it’s an expensive field to study, with costs estimated at around $90,000. These expenses can be particularly daunting for aspiring pilots, especially those from low-income backgrounds, potentially causing them to abandon their dreams of taking flight.
To address this issue, industry leaders are exploring solutions, including collaborating with the government to provide financial assistance to students or expanding scholarship opportunities.
Ultimately, pursuing a career as a pilot demands perseverance and determination, as there are numerous challenges and barriers along the way. Given the high demand for pilots, you can expect more support and assistance to become available. Having more pilots in the sky benefits everyone, so don’t give up on your dream just yet.