View Full Version : Pilot Shortage. Fact or fiction?

23rd Nov 2007, 14:31
For some years now Ive heard people talk about pilot shortage. I have a pretty good work myself as a commercial pilot so I have not been seeking a new career. Still I wonder if there is now or forseen a pilot shortage? Any evidence?

23rd Nov 2007, 14:36
Any evidence?

Emirates will be making another flying visit to the USA (Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, New York) from 4th until 12th December to conduct information sessions for pilot candidates and to review experience, with a view of booking people directly in for a selection program in Dubai.

We will also be reviewing experience and booking people in for selection programs on the day, providing they meet our criteria.

You might also want to pass on that we will now accept and review applications from candidates for First Officer positions who do not yet meet our published minimum hours requirements.

Candidates who are up to 500 hours below total and/or multi-engine jet hours are invited to submit their applications and may be offered the opportunity to attend a selection programme in Dubai. Successful candidates must, however, meet published minimum hours requirements prior to joining.

Direct Entry Captain requirements remain unchanged

Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated!

Donna Rawson
Recruitment Manager - Flight Operations
Human Resources

23rd Nov 2007, 15:01
At least one US commuter airline is considering pilots with 250 total time and 50 multi-engine. I think that is evidence of a shortage of experienced pilots.

the goon
23rd Nov 2007, 16:53
Our last recruitment resulted in about 15 people being offered jobs and only 6 accepted the offer. Apparently the ones that turned it down had other offers...........Mix of candidates from 300 hr newbies to direct entry captains. I dont think there is a shortage of pilots, there is however, a shortage of good pilots.

23rd Nov 2007, 16:57
There is a shortage in airlines with relatively poor terms and conditions.
No matter whether big or small or airline or corporate. Fact is that most operators are hiring.

23rd Nov 2007, 19:32
There is going to be a shortage, no doubt about that at all.

Large numbers of pilots coming up for retirement,
Large numbers of pilots will be needed for the VLJ expansion. Even if it is only a quarter of what analysts expect VLJs will absorb a lot of pilots,
Vast numbers needed for far East expansion, no way China, for instance, can train half the pilots they are going to need.

I don't know if being a pilot will ever get back to quite the status it used to have but things should definitely get better over the next ten years (subject no major world altering disaster or invention that changes the desire to travel.)

23rd Nov 2007, 19:38
There's a 'Glut' of Line Pilot's - believe me:ugh:

Alot of the talk of shortages, Is merely a marketing trick for Flying Tuition.

24th Nov 2007, 00:04
There may not be a shortage but there is a demand for experienced type rated pilots. Trouble is most of the jobs are in airlines you wouldn't work for or too far away.

It was said during a previous 'shortage' in the eighties I think. Pilots would contact an airline only to be told that they already had 500 (or some figure) CVs in their files and they were number 501 to be considered.

Trouble was, all the airlines had the same 500 CVs. Now that was a shortage. I remember Aer Lingus took PPLs they were so desperate:eek:

(Obviously they sent them to Oxford or whatever)

24th Nov 2007, 00:39
I thought EK shut down their Direct Entry Captain a long time ago. have they changed their position on this. I was about to board the flight to Dubai when they changed. I still work for UA. Please advise.


24th Nov 2007, 00:58
DEC's Joining every week.

Not everyone passes the regulatory checks though.

24th Nov 2007, 01:26
The voice of doom now, from one who is not in the airline world but has worked in the commercial world for 30 years.

The recession which is now bursting upon the western world will change this problem. Western airlines will be wanting to lose people and the middle eastern and (some) oriental ones, will wish to gain people.

Sorry if that sounds too gloomy, it's from having observed two recessions at first hand that leads me to that point of view.

24th Nov 2007, 08:37
Originally posted by Corsair:there is a demand for experienced type rated pilots

No there isn't!
There is a lack of understanding in airliners' managements that you don't need type rated pilots, just experienced pilots. What is the cost of conversion? Two weeks CBT, 10 sim sessions. One aircraft on the ground for 1 day costs more!

There is still the firm opinion around that only type rated pilots are able to do a good job. All these job adds are full of this cr*p. In an ideal world, the pilot shortage would start from the bottom (small airlines with unexperienced FO), because all available experienced pilots would get hired by bigger, better paying airlines, upgrading FOs and train them on bigger aircraft. In our pilot world, the opposite is true: The shortage starts at the top. That's why biggies can still ask for any salary they want. Again, in the ideal world of free trade and travel, the shortage would start in the flying schools, equalizing the costs and salaries throughout the market.

It starts slowly to topple, when some airlines accept non-rated pilots. But they do it merely out of shear desperation. Not because they have understood the system. In doubt, they still hire the less qualified, but rated pilot. Makes me wonder...


24th Nov 2007, 10:35
PAXBOY I hope you are wrong but I fear you are right. :sad:

24th Nov 2007, 12:42
At the present time the only shortage is of experienced type-rated pilots.. and the only people struggling are those who offer pathetically low salaries along with generally poor working conditions.. the only people willing to work for them are newly qualified and desperate for hours... they don't hang around long once the hours have piled up and it's interesting to note the the usual supects are the ones always advertising for crew... a couple of operators up here in the north east are constantly advertising for people to act as P1 on a pax carrying part 121 ops, earning around 30k pa... what sort of pilots are they getting ?

Jurassic Jet
24th Nov 2007, 13:28
Exactly what they pay for.

The pilot shortage is fiction.

The experienced pilot shortage is fact.

Until the younger/newer pilots stop prostituting themselves, there will always be a surplus of pilots.

The question remains: How do you tell a new pilot not to take a low paying, experience building job?

Once we have resolved that dilemma, we will be able to command the proper pay for all levels of pilots.

Airbus Unplugged
24th Nov 2007, 13:43
If you want to see how that can be achieved, try getting a part in a Broadway show without an equity card.

24th Nov 2007, 14:56
I wouldn't underestimate the impact of the Age 60 change as well.

Pilots entering the bottom of the pipeline can expect to be frozen where they are for 3-5 years when the law changes. That's bound to turn some away.

And for those coming after the change - they just get to start five years later. Same number of jobs, just older pilots filling them, at all levels .

It took me until age 33 before I made a wage big enough for my wife to stay home with our brood. If the rule had changed earlier it would have been 38......

24th Nov 2007, 17:05
DaniThere is a lack of understanding in airliners' managements that you don't need type rated pilots, just experienced pilots. What is the cost of conversion? Two weeks CBT, 10 sim sessions. One aircraft on the ground for 1 day costs more!But - if they get it wrong, and the person does not qualify? The accountants will always go for the easy option of someone that is already qualified. I have seen this in I.T. for 20 years. People who are very experienced and can easily pick up new bits of kit - are not hired above the inexperienced candidate who knows the kit. Thus, the workforce becomes narrower. Expect the same in your world.

Jurassic JetThe question remains: How do you tell a new pilot not to take a low paying, experience building job?You can't! Once again, I have seen this in many other fields where people will work for little or nothing - particularly in areas like film and theatre - just to gain experience. Human nature ensures that each individual will place their needs in front of any greater good for people that they will never meet and cannot know.

25th Nov 2007, 01:33
One way to help out the shortage of experienced pilots is to dump the 60 yr rule that exists here in the US.. totally ludicrous... the generation of 60 yr olds today is a wprld apart from the previous generation... I've been flying alongside superbly talented, very fit, bright guys with a wealth of experience numbering 15000+ hrs on heavy jets with a career going back to military fast jets and suddenly on the scrap heap because of a date on their birth certificate...

HUCK: It took me until age 33 before I made a wage big enough for my wife to stay home with our brood. If the rule had changed earlier it would have been 38......

Peronally I don't care where it leaves you ( or me ) on the upgrade ladder.. I would prefer to concentrate on safety and keep these grossly under-experienced jokers away from the sharp end until they've proven themselves on single crew night-freight for a couple of winters. We now have companies advertising for P2s with as little as 250 hrs... about time the press took this up...

25th Nov 2007, 01:56
Speaking of the age 60 rule, any guesses as to when the law will change in the US? Will it be in effect immeidately after it passes by congress? Or will there be a delay? Any insight?

25th Nov 2007, 02:18
I don't think there is a shortage either, just movement among companies whereby the cr*ppy ones lose their crews and the good ones are never short. Surely the reason EK is prowling about the world looking for crews is because the money sucks, the housing sucks and the cost of living in Dubai has gone through the roof; management treats pilots like something stuck on their shoes.............. I know all this and I don't work there!:)

25th Nov 2007, 04:01
I wouldn't underestimate the impact of the Age 60 change as well.

Pilots entering the bottom of the pipeline can expect to be frozen where they are for 3-5 years when the law changes. That's bound to turn some away.

And for those coming after the change - they just get to start five years later. Same number of jobs, just older pilots filling them, at all levels .

It took me until age 33 before I made a wage big enough for my wife to stay home with our brood. If the rule had changed earlier it would have been 38......

Don´t overexaggerate the change to age 65. It has happened in some places east of the Atlantic without any great tragedies for younger pilots.
The problem in the USA is that pilots are generally older when they join the "majors" or the bigger airlines than in Europe. Quite a few pilots still elect to quit at 60 or at a time of their choosing between 60-65.

US majors have glorified the advantage of hiring pilots with thousands of hours, either from the military or from regionals. However as far as low time pilots being hired and trained in Europe, it appears that these carriers are doing just as well, or even better and with todays exchange rate, paying better :} (I´m ducking, incoming...)

25th Nov 2007, 11:01
Originally posted by Paxboy:
But - if they get it wrong, and the person does not qualify?
That is the real question here: Do non type rated fail more often than rated? I guess it's the task of a good HR and Flight Ops recruiting team to find out who will be qualified or not, independent on which type ratings the candidates bear. Is a rated, but less qualified pilot making more money in the long run? I seriously doubt. Btw if you find pilots without the rating, you can give them slightly lower wages, so the bean counters should like the idea. That's a clear indication that this strange idea about rated pilots doesn't come from this corner, but from the grey haired chief flight ops'.
I think you can hardly compare the IT with the pilots business. You would have to argue that an IT project manager can only work with the same projects he lead before. All management jobs show very clearly that it's experience that counts, not the field where you have gained it.

25th Nov 2007, 11:06
Originally posted by MungoP:
I would prefer to concentrate on safety and keep these grossly under-experienced jokers away from the sharp end until they've proven themselves on single crew night-freight for a couple of winters. We now have companies advertising for P2s with as little as 250 hrs...

Well, this has been discussed here already. In Europe nearly every airline hires FOs with 250 hours. I cannot see any advantage of pilots having SE pilots with night-freight experience except with flying skills. I fail to see the advantage of an aviation system where 250 hrs SE pilots share the same skies like me :ooh: And if they survive, they become solide lonely fighters, having no clue about CRM, bigger aircraft and pax handling.

No, I prefer the European way anytime!


25th Nov 2007, 11:23
The shortage of experienced pilots IS real and came to stay


Companies with good pay rates don`t feel this shortage....

So , if you want pilots , open your hand....

25th Nov 2007, 12:14
Dani I think you can hardly compare the IT with the pilots business. I wasn't. Sorry if I did not make myself clear. I was trying to point out that: managers in different fields make the same mistake.

In this case, they think that hiring only fully qualified staff will do. They do not like training someone new from outside because it costs money and the outcome is uncertain. As well as the cost of training, the cost of recruitment is high in staff time and paperwork. If the candidate then fails, the gap in the schedules might mean lost rotations. If you already have the type rating, then their risk is gone. They, of course, want to have the person both rated AND cheap. :hmm:

Once they have someone in the company for a few years, they will consider cross training them on another type but only because they know them. Taking a promising person and training them is a high risk - so they don't do it. And they don't do in IT either!!

25th Nov 2007, 12:19
This "shortage" situation has been a persistent rumour for at least 3 years now.

Observed facts are:

Yes, there is a high demand for experienced pilots, and those are in short supply. However, age 60 rule changes have made a noticeable impact on that front in many countries.
Also an important shortage mitigating fact is that experience requirements have been lowered worldwide. It is not unusual nowadays to have 3000 hours captains on large airliners.

As always, reputable operators attract experienced pilots. There is no shortage at SG, UA, BA, AC, QX, EK, AF etc.

The "democratisation" of airline travel has seen the proliferation of budget and charter carriers and that's mainly where the pilot hiring action happens.
Even there, many of those operate in very permissive regulatory environments and can fill their pilot seats with inexperienced people.

Having recently been job hunting, my experience clearly demonstrates that on the global scene, there is no shortage. Many operators will demand an experienced candidate to get their own type rating. Many will not even provide tickets for interviews, etc.

There is NO shortage. I will only beleive it when employers provide incentives and when it translates in better salaries and conditions.

Fatboy Ginge
25th Nov 2007, 18:15
Aahh reminds me of the good old problem in the haulage industry. No shortage of drivers but a serious shortage of GOOD drivers e.g. experienced drivers.

When Poland joined the EU the company I work for had a recruitment drive and we had approximately 50 applicants that we assessed. We only employed 5 of them.

Most of the others ended up in the local agencies and occasionally drive for us. One of them recently tried to take a 12' 9" lorry under a 10' bridge. Apparently he couldn't use his sat nav so was reading the map.

Oh dear... Oh dear... Oh dear.

25th Nov 2007, 18:22
"In Europe nearly every airline hires FOs with 250 hours"

Most definetely not true. Some airlines in Europe hire a few low hour pilots is closer to the mark. Many airlines have a minimum experience level and some hire a mix of low houred and experienced guys. For the same qualifications airlines will hire the pilot with more hours.

I know because I still remember looking for a job with 200 hours and let me tell you, it wasn't easy.

It is the nature of the beast that with 200 hours you think you know it all, with 1000 you realize that you didn't but now you do, with 4000 you... and so on.

Airlines and most companies will hire proven candidates if they can over unproven ones.

Ignition Override
26th Nov 2007, 06:17

A CRJ former CRJ Check Airman told me that his company hired some pilots with NO multi-engine rating.

You might wonder why he is a... former... Check Airman?
He told me that he is not ready to fly solo, even after their IOE is over (80 hours?), to ATL, DFW, MIA, BOS, LGA and JFK with pilots who have zero experience.:( Would this not be challenging in good weather after a good night's sleep?
His company offered him 150% pay, and he told them no thank you.

I saw him a week later at the shoe shine stand and he confirmed his previous comments.

Another guy told me that Chautauqua is forcing FOs to upgrade, because they have so few Captains available, or those who have the required PIC hours or comfort level etc.

Lekker slapen.

26th Nov 2007, 07:02
Is it just me or it seems that the problem is not the current "shortage", but a glut in the near future.

A lot of the shortage seems to be caused by expanding carriers trying to obtain pilots to fill the gaps between now and the time their own ab-initio training gets into gear... After that???? It'll be back to the days like when I got an email from a widebody pilot who was asking about the possibilities of flying in Indonesia for near to dirt pay... :zzz:

So, any ideas when this glut is going to come? :rolleyes:

26th Nov 2007, 11:29
So, any ideas when this glut is going to come?

Well the one thing we can all be sure of is that it will come... for those of us (old fogies) that have been watching the industry since the sixties when the first 'boom' in air travel was witnessed it's as sure as tomorrows sun-rise... The factors contibuting to the end of the current boom can be as diverse as another major terrorist attack on the U S or the inevitable increase in oil prices... also the current disparity between the US$ and major world curremcies as exports to the U S markets are likely to decrease even further... whatever the reasons there will certainly be another slump, that's the way it works and why most of the airlines dumped their ab-initio training programs a long time ago...

Any wanabees out there who are expecting a stable and predictable career in aviation need to keep this in mind...

As for Europe having a history of employing very low time pilots (<1000) that maybe true but most reputable airlines had an established 2nd officer program running that ensured an acceptable level of experience in the cockpit... way too many large and very sophisticated aircraft are now being flown almost single crew and the public have a right to expect 2 competent pilots up front not just one plus a bag carrier.

This has been done to death many times in these columns but that doesn't make the issue any less important... for good CRM it's essential that both crew have a respect for each other... it might be simple enough for a low time F/O to point out an obvious error by the Capt but when it comes to a discussion of whether it's sensible even to undertake an approach to a marginal airfield ( more and more common these days ) under difficult circumstances, how much credence is going to be given to a fresh-faced P2 with very little hard-winter IFR in his log-book... ?

26th Nov 2007, 12:51
So, any ideas when this glut is going to come?

I say it won't be too long till the next pilot glut:-

26th Nov 2007, 14:03
Any wanabees out there who are expecting a stable and predictable career in aviation need to keep this in mind...

It's stable enough - if you can support yourself for about a year without income, at the drop of a hat......

26th Nov 2007, 14:45
Here's an excerpt from a recent newspaper article on the subject:

Regional airlines lower bar for pilots

Star-Telegram staff writer

If you've flown on a regional airline like American Eagle or Atlantic Southeast Airlines with any regularity, you may have noticed that the pilots seem a bit younger.

It's not your imagination. Regional carriers, which operate flights for major airlines like American, Delta and United, have been slashing their minimum hiring requirements in recent years as they grapple with a growing shortage of pilots. The carriers have reduced required flight hours for job applicants by as much as two-thirds, and in a few cases have hired pilots with the minimum experience required by the Federal Aviation Administration for a pilot's license...


Life's a Beech
26th Nov 2007, 14:56

That is not correct. There are many very reputable European carriers taking on 200-hour pilots as FOs, not SOs. They start on the short-haul fleet, where most airlines don't have SOs. I agree that it is not a good idea (I fly single-crew, and could not take some of those guys on in our little aircraft) but it happens.

26th Nov 2007, 17:23
Beech... Maybe i didn't put it too well... what I was responding to was a comment earlier in the thread claiming ( I think ) that European airlines had a tradition of employing very low time crew for the RH seat... my remark was that yes they have done for many years but that was generally by better established airlines who employed a 2nd officer system allowing the newby to gain good experience under the watchful eye of a senior F/O... this is rarely the case now as you point out... we just get the low-time F/Os and be expected to train them as unpaid training Capts... sure they can identify the right buttons to push but decision making is relegated all to often to the LH seat with little useful input from P2... After all... if Log-Book hours are now rconsidered to be relatively unimportant why do we bother keeping Log-Books ??

Lord Lucan
26th Nov 2007, 17:33
There is an infallible indicator to a pilot shortage.

It is when no-one has to pay for their own type rating upon being recruited. And if you show any hesitation at the interview, they point out that there is no training bond either. And that you will be paid from day one.

That is most certainly not the current situation.

...however things are currently improving.

26th Nov 2007, 17:42
sorry, NO shortage of pilots in Europe.

did 2 interviews last month, none have been selected or less than 10% in one company.

Just go on the interview section of this forum, and see by yourself the number of unemployed pilots looking for job.

I got 2 offers by 2 companies in Turkey and India, they asked me to pay to work.is that a shortage? for me aviation is over, I go where people pay me ...

26th Nov 2007, 18:12
I have kept old aviation magazines and publications since... 50 years ago...
Name them: Interavia, Aviation Magazine, Flight, Aviation Week...
I kept some, with interesting articles or pictures...
And I read the wanted ads and advertisements published back then...
A pilot shortage exists since approximately early 1974
(According to flight colleges, aviation "academies" and air "universities")
In my early days (1960s), there were just "pilot schools"...
Back then, it took US$5,000 to get a CPL+IR to qualify for any airline.
Multiengine rating... not needed then...
I recall my furlough in NOV 1973, due to the oil crisis (October War)
Had to go overseas (Middle East) to find a job, despite 707 and 727 experience...
What I recall as shortage was mostly in pilot trainees...
So, most "colleges, academies and universities" needed to advertise "shortages"
(of trainees, but that, they did not specify)...
Especially now that you need to spend $100,000.
And Daddy will offer you a B-737 type rating for your 18th birthday...
The only shortage I know, is decent new-hire salaries among most airlines...
So - yes... there is a pilot shortage since 1974...
Happy contrails

Wee Weasley Welshman
26th Nov 2007, 18:22
If I may. As Moderator of the Wannabes Forum I have a little insight into the current recruiting market in Europe for low time (under 500hrs TT) pilots.

Things have been very good for the last 3 years. At the moment things are markedly slowing. Interviews are happening but they generally end up filling holding pools more than they did last year.

If there were a shortage of JAA low time licensed pilots then it would be news to most Wannabes who are ALL toying with paying for their own type rating. Ryanairs terms and conditions are well worth inspection in this regard. If you harbor thoughts about your son or daughter entering a flying career you will be disheartened. To say the very least.

I see no shortage of pilots.


27th Nov 2007, 05:58
As I said in another thread, lets define pilot shortage: It all depends on the side of the employment fence one stands.
On the pilot side, a shortage is when pilots have no problem finding jobs, choosing their employer or place to work or can change employer at wish. An exceedence of pilots exists when the pilot cannot manage to get hired, or is stuck with the job with which he is unhappy.
Pilot shortage for employers, is when their ordered equipment gets delivered faster than they can train pilots.

27th Nov 2007, 19:43
Well, Ive been reading all your thoughts and comments on pilot shortage.

Maybe THE problem can be summarized by these words someone wrote above:

"The only shortage I know, is decent new-hire salaries among most airlines..."

I guess Im one of the lucky ones, good job, decent salary, time off. Just feel for those fellow pilots that are not so lucky.

27th Nov 2007, 20:32
SAM 17

I've seen your posts on other occasions and they all leave me wondering if you're quite real and what colour the sky is in your world... are we supposed to add the 1 to the 7 to get your age ?

19th Dec 2007, 08:42
Airlines In The Brace Position
Air travel is booming as the world gets richer. But one issue looms: who will pilot all those planes?

Ted Aljibe / AFP-Getty Images
Grounded: Hong Kong's Dragon Airlines had to cancel flights due to a pilot shortage
By George Wehrfritz | NEWSWEEK
Dec 24, 2007 Issue | Updated: 12:46 p.m. ET Dec 15, 2007

• Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd.
• Hong Kong
• Boeing 777
Airline travel is booming. so why are executives at Philippine Airlines so worried? Quite simply, the spike in global air travel since 2003 has cost them a precious commodity: seasoned pilots. The flag carrier has suffered 104 flight-crew resignations over the last four years, an attrition rate of more than 20 percent, due to poaching. Result: the airline has had to increase pay by up to 60 percent. They aren't the only one with troubles. Hong Kong-based rival Dragonair has reduced scheduled flights following an exodus of pilots due to pay and scheduling issues. "The fact is that there are currently more vacancies than there are pilots throughout the industry," says Dragonair spokesperson May Lam-Kobayashi.
While that's especially true in booming Asian economies, the pilot crisis is a global one. In a report issued in late November, the Geneva-based International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the industry would need some 17,000 new pilots annually over the next two decades to keep up with demand. The Asia Pacific Airline Training Symposium estimates that Asian airlines alone would require 6,000 additional pilots per year through 2020. Even tiny Ireland's three carriers will need a combined 570 pilots next year alone, says the chief executive of the Waterford-based Pilot Training College. It's a boom unmatched since the advent of jet travel in the 1950s. Over the next 10 years, if current estimates hold true, almost three times as many pilots will enter the industry worldwide than are currently represented by its largest union, the 60,000-strong Air Line Pilots Association (which encompasses the bulk of pilots currently flying in North America). "It's time to ring the warning bell," said the IATA director-general and CEO recently. "We must rethink pilot training and qualifications to further improve safety and increase training capacity."
Safety concerns are, in fact, becoming a huge issue. While airline manufacturers can turn out new jets in mere months, a pilot capable of commanding a wide-bodied aircraft such as an Airbus 340 or Boeing 777 takes many years to groom. Airlines often opt to poach crews from competitors rather than train them, with top-tier airlines recruiting from their second-tier rivals, who in turn woo promising talent from budget or express carriers. Pilots are clear beneficiaries, of course; seasoned veterans piloting large jets can now command $15,000 per month in some markets.
That's a big change from the post-9/11 period, when the industry went through mass layoffs and pay cuts. Many pilots stopped flying altogether and chose new careers. Now, the shortage has grown so acute that airlines are putting unseasoned pilots into cockpits and calling for less stringent pilot certifications, even as skies and airports grow more congested. "The rush to push pilots through training and into cockpits raises obvious safety concerns," says Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, last August.
Airlines have initiated some corrective maneuvers. One common practice: raise the retirement age for pilots from 60 to 65—as the European Union did way back in 1996. More than 10 years on, the International Civil Aviation Organization (the U.N. body that regulates the airline industry, has followed suit) a move that has encouraged Philippine Airlines, for example, to rehire a number of old-timers on a contract basis. On Dec. 12, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to increase the retirement age for U.S.-based pilots to 65, with Senate approval pending.
Yet toggling retirement rules alone won't mitigate the captain crunch. Analysts argue that training systems established in the 1950s—in which the total number of hours a trainee logs flying solo in single-engine aircraft weighs heavily—is outmoded. Instead, they advocate greater use of flight simulators, more emphasis on flight schools versus in-house training programs and other measures to shorten the trainee-to-cockpit pipeline. Europe has pioneered the use of multicrew pilot licenses that allow trainees to forego some of the single-pilot requirements, shorten actual flight hours in exchange for more time in simulators and go from classroom to cockpit in about a year. "Pilots need to improve their capacity for reacting in the correct way when dealing with situations of particular stress, especially during takeoff and landing," says Jurgen Haacker, an operations director at IATA in Montreal. "It's not about reducing the amount of flight hours, but of providing trainees the capacity to react when they should do so—in critical moments.''
The first European trainees earned multipilot licenses in Denmark in September, and took jobs with Scandinavian budget carrier Sterling Airlines; more recently six Chinese cadets from two airlines have finished programs at home. But pilots unions have criticized the new multi-pilot-licenses system for turning out first officers that haven't flown enough. At an industry conference in August, Prater, the ALPA boss, said that the days of greenhorn trainees working for "burger-flipper wages" are over. And he warned that airlines have become too eager to fill cockpits with inexperienced crews. "At some express carriers, pilots now need as few as 250 hours of fight time [the very minimum hours required to obtain a commercial pilot license] to land a job [as a copilot] of a fast-moving, demanding jet. Unlike in the 1960s, when new pilots entering the system came to work as flight engineers and had time to observe and learn how crews got along and how the system works, new pilots today are going straight into the right [copilot] seat, and moving into the left [captain] seat in a hurry. And they're doing it in airplanes that are great machines, but can be unforgiving."
The problem is particularly acute in the developing world. Take Indonesia. Since 2000, its yearly passenger count has tripled to 30 million and the number of airlines has leaped from five to 25. By 2010, the government expects that the number of trips per year could more than double again. The country has suffered more than its share of fatal accidents, including two for upstart budget carrier Lion Air and a March 2007 crash of a Garuda Indonesia flight trying to land at Yogyakarta—which an official inquiry attributed to a series of errors made by a veteran captain and his rookie copilot. Twenty-one passengers aboard, five of them Australians, perished. "The aviation industry wants to see Indonesia succeed in this struggle [to improve safety]," says William Voss, head of the U.S.-based Flight Safety Foundation during a July summit on air safety held on the resort island Bali, at the same time warning that the "dramatic increase in traffic could lead to even more lives lost."
Certainly there's no end in sight to the transport boom. At the Dubai Airshow in November, Emirates Airline ordered a staggering 81 Airbuses (11 of them double-decker A380s) and 12 Boeing 777s, spending a total of $23 billion. Together, the two main airframe makers are expected to sell a record 2,100 planes worldwide by the time the 2007 books are closed. And pilot pay keeps rising. After a two-year negotiation, Hong Kong's Dragonair offered its pilots a 20 percent raise in mid-December, affirming that pilots are in the driver's seat.
With Antonio Oliveira E. Silva in Paris And Marites Vitug in Manila
© 2007 Newsweek, Inc.

19th Dec 2007, 11:53
Whether there is a pilot shortage is debateable depending on where you are sat, but certainly the recruitment of newly trained pilots from OAT looks buoyant.

Figures from Oxford Aviation's website show:

07 - 247 to Dec 17th (up 49% on 06 & up 36% on 05)
06 - 166
05 - 182

I don't know how the other schools are fairing, but I expect similar high figures.

At least there is some encouragement for all those looking for that first job.:ok:


saddest aviator
19th Dec 2007, 12:01
While bean counters remain in control we will continue to see short term thinking and the disposal of 'assets' eg experienced pilots. The bean counter can only see pilots as a liability to an airline. Forget the cost of training .that comes from the budget of training therefore not my problem. The structures of airline managements lead to a problem of one bean counter fighting the next bean counter in another department obsessed with coming in under budget. Budgets are meant to be used. It should not be a macho pissing contest to impress directors how much can be saved from one year to the next. The rule should be : Under Budget .......Bollocking...... Over Budget .......Bollocking On Budget......"you young bean counter can sleep with my daughter."

19th Dec 2007, 13:49
The recession which is now bursting upon the western world will change this problem. Western airlines will be wanting to lose people and the middle eastern and (some) oriental ones, will wish to gain people.

Sorry if that sounds too gloomy, it's from having observed two recessions at first hand that leads me to that point of view

What are you saying PAXBoy? Rush to the Middle East before the big rush starts?

I am waiting for the promised salary increases due to THE SHORTAGE!

Skydrol Leak
19th Dec 2007, 19:32
I think that the mathematics of our gorgeous little planet talk by themselves. Yes ,there is shortage; but there is no shortage in PPL pilots trying to become CPL's etc...There is a shortage of already qualified,2000TT+ pilots with turbine time and TR.
Simple and true.
But it is in human nature that we all like to turn around the facts, since we are trying to believe and hear only what we would like to hear and that's pretty much what we came down to. Hey; isn't that called a confirmation bias?
As well as how can we believe in all the bollocks from flying schools about how great it is to be a pilot?We have all been there haven't we? If they wouldn't bull**** us they wouldn't make any money and since they are the bottom feeders of the aviation in a way (not getting any gratitude for their work really at the end of the day) we treat them as such.But we fell for it and we are here now, so I guess the endless story about becoming a pilot became a story of becoming a survivor. :ouch:

20th Dec 2007, 09:41
The company I work for are taking guys with 300Hrs TT, straight into the embraer 145 or the 170, thats how bad it's over here!!!!!!

hotel hopper
20th Dec 2007, 09:54
Not implying there is a shortage of pilots here but I know for a fact that here at BA we weren't exactly flush with applicants making it through for courses, and a percentage who did never actually joined and went elsewhere.
New recruitment figures look very healthy for wannabees due to expansion and new part time options. A figure of 280-300 for next financial year is being circulated, plus serious discussions of a new training scheme/ part sponsorship.

20th Dec 2007, 13:19
Ryanair defies crisis with plan for 50 new routes (http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2007/dec/19/travelnews.theairlineindustry)

Presumably they will need pilots to fly these extra a/c?

20th Dec 2007, 15:17
Skintman - OAT figures

Not trying to destroy your hope but don't believe everything you read. These figures have always been questioned by many and still are open for debate.

If you look at other websites / read around your see many are struggling to find jobs and it is worrying that the likes of CTC have closed their doors (at the moment). Even more with qualified CTC pilots waiting 12+ months in a holding pool who’s partners are some of the fastest 'growing' airlines in Europe.

From who I have spoken to and what I have read, there is no pilot shortage.

Red Comet
20th Dec 2007, 15:48
" A worldwide shortage of pilots is putting less experienced fliers at the controls of passenger jets and forcing some airlines to cancel flights for lack of crews.
In the US the pilot squeeze is being felt mostly at regional carriers.."
The Wall Street Journal 20th Dec 2007.
Happy Christmas all

20th Dec 2007, 17:12
cancel flights for lack of crewsairlines dont cancel flight as they have a full year Flights program ,( when to fly, where to fly...)

hiring pilot is more expensive than keeping planes grounded, but it doesn't mean the aircraft are fully grounded waiting for his pilots, they just don't book more seats if the planes are full..

like in a restaurant, when the room is full, you wait outside or go eat somewhere else, they are not going to close the restaurant, because they need more chefs!


the real shortage is for dentists where people wait 8-12 hours in line in the street to extract a bad tooth...if you want make a good living and make money, you know what to do!!!

20th Dec 2007, 17:31
Well said Dartagnan

26th Dec 2007, 12:21
I find myself still flying corporate on the "wrong" side of age seventy, why? the insurance industry understands that one may be able to put low time pilots in the right seat of a scheduled airline flying regular routes into destinations with all the aids and intense supervision but its a different world when one is flying into thirty different fields a month from 3000 of compacted snow with no aids at all to New York at the rush hour, combine this with the lack of weather reporting, nav aids , or ground suport{do your own de ice, fueling ect} in these circumstances a pilot needs a little more than the training and experience gained at some "puppy farm" in Florida!Not to knock the schools but they to are seeing experienced staff sucked up by the shortage in the industry thus there has been a further erosion of training standards.The solution? other than a grubby little war, which is how my generation got trained, we need a national policy to promote flight training, not what is going on in Canada at this time where in Ontario Government policies are causing flight schools to either shut down or cease comercial flight training.In the case of our outfit Im busy training my staff as fast as we can to replace me, have been trying to retire for ten years now!

27th Dec 2007, 14:49
When I was a young PPL holder in the late 1980s I remember the airlines phoning up the flying school asking if they had any pilots looking for a job with approaching 700 hours (at the time this was the requirement for a CPL via the self-improver route). We are talking about good airline such as Britannia. That was a pilot shortage. This is not.

29th Dec 2007, 17:33
Aviation is different then most industries, that if an experienced pilot and an inexperienced pilot walk into the same interview, its a crapshoot who gets the job. Still havent seen interviews where it's a lock for the pilot with solid hours, good background, can just get a flying job. Atleast with majors, they are still picking who they want out of the commuters.

Commuter pay is terrible but it can actualy be reasonable if one sticks around a while.

I have wondered how an airline can buck the 1200 IFR rule and put 500 hour pilots in airline seats, but they have and still do.

Many of us in corporate thought that the insurance companies would help dictate hours, and thus force employers to hire people with experience, didn't happen, they just raised the premiums, and the owners just hired cheaper pilots.

I suppose for a low time pilot willing to move anywhere, and keep plugging away, he'll find a job. For those that want to actualy make a living at this, have a good lifestyle, a good retirement, the good jobs I find are just like 'good' anything, hard to find.

Ignition Override
29th Dec 2007, 19:25
Saddest Aviator described the naked truth about many airlines.
Lemper's perspectives are also quite accurate.
Many small airlines are indifferent to the fact that many brand-new First Officers' zero experience, other than about 60 hours with a Check Airman during IOE, equates to the fact that their next captains with whom they fly are flying SOLO.

The mgmts care nothing about the fact that only one pilot in those c0ckpits has experience.

At 440 knots, around all types of weather through intense east coast airspace, i.e. DCA, PHL, EWR, LGA, JFK, BOS.
ORD, DFW and MIA can also be challenging.

The huge amount of insurance coverage for what insurance companies call a "hull loss" (a bloody, nightmarish crash) lets Upper Mgmts 'off the 'hook' of responsibility and liability.
This is the basic priority and objective is for these "gentlemen".

2nd Jan 2008, 14:49
So what hour requirment would an 'expereinced pilot' need to get a job?

Currently I am in New Zealand, half way through a JAA license conversion, with 900TT and over 100 multi, am I wasting time or is it worth my while?

Have just been offered a job blasting around in a Cherokee Six, good fun and in my home country, but I'd like to think there's more out there?

Any feedback would be appreciated.