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ABC: Pilot Shortage ‘flipped around’

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ABC: Pilot Shortage ‘flipped around’

Old 26th Jul 2020, 09:09
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ABC: Pilot Shortage ‘flipped around’

It’s clear that the government won’t be assisting Pilots specifically, so it begs the question, a large amount of people will be forced to walk away for 3-5-10 years, with hundreds of Tiger/Virgin/ANZ already sent off, with more expected to come, Will they return? Or will employers re hire those that have been idle for so long.

There is going to be thousands of pilots here including those returning home from Emirates etc.

There has been talk on here about crewing issues long term within the industry, in 20 years when the majority of the existing ATPLs today, retire. On the other end, the amount of self funding CPLs in the near future will be near none.

Pilots are bracing for a three-year coronavirus shutdown and want help to keep them in aviation

At the age of 17, Qantas pilot Mark Sedgwick left home to join the Air Force.

Key points:

  • With flights grounded by COVID-19, job prospects for pilots are limited
  • Pilots are also at risk of losing their accreditation because they can't fly
  • There are calls for a 'PilotKeeper' package to help keep them in aviation
He is grateful he did not have to pay for his training but said other sacrifices were made along the way.

Mr Sedgwick is now the head of the Australian and International Pilots Association, which represents Qantas pilots.

And he is worried about younger colleagues who have paid big dollars to get their qualifications, often moved towns or states to get their flying hours up and now face limited job prospects because of COVID-19.

"The cost of doing flying training at the various flying schools around the country can certainly go well above six figures, so well over $100,000 in training costs," he said

"It would be incredibly difficult [for people] to have to walk away.

Mr Sedgwick welcomed the Federal Government's latest COVID-19 JobKeeper assistance but called for a sector-specific package for aviation.

"Anything at this point is really important to the industry [but] certainly in the future we'd like to see a targeted approach to aviation employees, an aviation or 'PilotKeeper'-type program," he said.

Veteran pilots may need re-training

Mr Sedgwick said Australian pilots were required to fly at least once every 45 days to be allowed to use their Civil Aviation Safety Authority-issued licence.

On top of that, Qantas pilots needed to complete four simulator flights every 12 months

But with planes grounded around the world because of COVID-19, many pilots were now unable to meet the requirements.

Mr Sedgwick said a so-called PilotKeeper program could pay for the retraining required for pilots to eventually re-enter the skies.

"It will be easier to have pilots who maintain a level of currency of skills throughout this COVID period for when they come back at the other side, versus trying to wait a year or two or three years until they come back and then essentially training back from scratch again."

Mr Sedgwick said the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria was compounding the problem.
"We have quite a significant simulator base in Melbourne which is effectively shut at the moment ... they're in COVID hotspots as well, so that is proving a logistical challenge to keep pilots current when you can't get access to some of those simulators themselves," he said.

"We have access to simulators in Sydney as well, but clearly bringing pilots from WA or from Queensland and trying to use just simulators in Sydney is proving to be difficult, and those simulators in Sydney ... effectively have to operate around the clock."

Pilot shortage 'flipped around'

Perth flying school Airflite's general manager, Kristian Constantinides, backed the call for a PilotKeeper program, noting until recently there were forecasts of a global pilot shortage.
"We were coming from an environment that had extreme levels of forecast demand — over 600,000 pilots required over the next 20 years — and a gap in the existing level as existing pilots exited the profession and the new ones coming in didn't have the same level of experience," he said.

"That in the short term has been flipped around."

But Mr Constantinides was optimistic about the Australian industry's long-term future, if pilot skills could be maintained.

"Aviation is an English-speaking domain, Australia being an English-speaking nation, with the weather that we have that's ideal for flying, with respected standards internationally," he said.

"We're well-positioned as a whole industry to benefit from the return of demand when that occurs.

"So the longer we can hold on as an industry and the longer we can retain capability, I think the better it will be for this nation."

Last edited by wheels_down; 26th Jul 2020 at 09:23.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 09:21
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Seriously, everybody needs to stop expecting government hand outs. Socialism gone mad.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 09:28
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Forget handouts. There is, and will never be a PilotKeeper. Nothing. Zilch. Move on.

I don’t know how many times the PM had to say this. Bit like Virgin going to The Treasurer 20 times for cash when he said No the previous 19 times.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 09:55
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Remember our corrupt Govt represent ALL Australians, pilots are just a minority group in the scheme of things & the general public would be mortified if the Govt lent a financial hand to a bunch of glorified bus drivers, -)
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 10:08
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Yes never going to happen. Nor should it. If you are unfortunate enough to lose your job, yes it does suck, but there are other things outside of aviation you can do.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 10:59
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All this will do is exacerbate the mother of all Pilot Shortages in around the 2030's. There will be early retirements and those who leave as there is no employment. If you can hang on 5 years I would suggest that you would probably get back into an airline. All that depends on your life stage though if you have a family waiting 5 years for another airline job is not going to happen.

What will happen is training will dry up, there will be no one moving through the industry, retirements still happen and eventually there will be noone left to hire. You can't just get airline ready pilots overnight. With the cost of training now so high the risk profile will be to much for most to accept. Those finishing cadet courses or high fee training right now are probably going to get screwed and be lucky to not be bankrupt. It will be interesting to see what REX do with their cadets as people there are legally bonded but noone will be moving on there in a hurry.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 11:49
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Originally Posted by neville_nobody
All this will do is exacerbate the mother of all Pilot Shortages in around the 2030's. There will be early retirements and those who leave as there is no employment
You ain’t wrong! Aviation globally is not going to be a career anyone flocks to for the foreseeable future. Soon that pipeline of pilots in training at flight schools will dry up, in Australia (and beyond) some flying schools will be forced to close, in fact many likely will.
Spending the dollars on commercial training or even recreational training just won’t be feasible as the unemployment numbers rocket upwards and people find there are absolutely no jobs for pilots anywhere.

Things will eventually turn around with high passenger demand and as pointed out, there won’t be enough pilots to recruit fast enough as that happens. I too think we are now setting up for one almighty shortage again, a long way off yes but there is no mistake that it is on its way again.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 13:27
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By 2030 everyone will be so used to having their Tesla drive them around on autopilot that the thought of catching a jet with only one driver or possibly none won’t seem like a big deal.

The last pilot shortage EVER happened in 2019, it was the best 2 weeks of my life!

BTW, if you don’t think change can happen so quickly remember that the first iPhone was released mid 2007. Prior to that a “smartphone” was not much more capable than a Nokia 5110 but had a low res camera and you could type some notes on it. A decade later life without a smartphone is almost inconceivable.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 13:27
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There will be no shortages of pilots, never. They are too easy to train, and it can be done within very a short period, and there are too many boys who will try if they can see that terms and conditions are in an upwind trend. I have two boys myself, still some years to go before they will choose what to do after school time ends. And if its up to the old man, its not gonna be aviation. I have been there, and still is, but I have been lucky, nothing else. No specific qualifications, just timing, nothing that distinguishes me from the rest.

I ask myself, how can it be that you can be the best pilot in the world and be unemployed? This is not possible for a doctor, an engineer, a dentist or someone who has skilled qualifications in other branches. Maybe we are also skilled, but we are as individuals too easy to replace by some one else, who are willing to do it cheaper, or sacrifice more.

Future in aviation? Not a chance!
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 18:42
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What easyheat said. I came through the era when the notion of a pilot shortage was inconceivable, equally inconceivable was the notion that kids would be trained at dedicated schools in 12 months then thrown straight into the right hand seat of a 777 for few years before sliding across to the command seat. That's how airlines do it these days and into the future.

Domestic short haul should see a return to 50% of what it previously was within a year I would think, Long Haul a few years. Anyone much over age 55 isn't going back, Whilst there won't be a shortage, there probably won't be an over supply either.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 21:41
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The idea that experienced pilots would be overlooked doesn’t make sense. Why would you not choose an experienced pilot who has been grounded over someone with no experience at all?

If I was presented with a fresh commercial pilot after this I would wonder about that pilot's intelligence and appetite for risk.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 22:34
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All valid points above. It seems certain to me that given the volatility of the job, many will see the already high initial-outlay to be a big roadblock.

Whatever rank/position you hold now, prepare to be in it for a long time.

If you’re lucky enough to have a job now, treasure it.

The industry will advance again the future, but for the meantime, the music has stopped.

all the best everyone
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 22:46
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Very much a new lesson to be learnt. 911, GFC, SARS and now Corona. A specific trade that due to the explosion of the middle class’ affordability to travel has expanded air travel from the 70/80’s to mammoth industry that not only is aircrew but all that goes with travel. Easyheat’s point on having quals in other trades is valid. As a pilot you trade/qual’s are reliant on air travel, hence airlines, of which no matter how good your qual’s are you cannot ply without that employment. It will be very interesting to see how air travel pan’s out over the next few years and the impact this has on careers in the aviation industry. Even without Corona Xeptu’s point on training was/is also valid. Airlines set their own requirements for employment. So if they are happy to train you for 12 months and throw you in a seat that is and has been acceptable for that position, that is what will happen. Flying is no longer piloting but systems operation. You no longer are a Captain as decision's will be made by the manager back at base.

AUST your point is common sense AND when has common sense played a part in business. If you can get a 25 yo with bugger all experience but enough to satisfy whatever why would you employ a 40 + y.o whom you may only get 20 years out. Yes I and everyone else would rather have the 40 y.o. up front but the company does not see it that way.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 23:11
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Originally Posted by finestkind
You no longer are a Captain as decision's will be made by the manager back at the base
Possibly the biggest load of bull**** I’ve read on this forum and that’s saying something.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 23:22
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You no longer are a Captain as decision's will be made by the manager back at base.
Don’t smoke crack, kids...
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 23:28
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Originally Posted by spektrum
Seriously, everybody needs to stop expecting government hand outs. Socialism gone mad.
Even libertarians are shouting at the rooftops for government intervention during this time. So no, not socialism.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 23:36
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Originally Posted by finestkind
You no longer are a Captain as decision's will be made by the manager back at base.
Wrong Country mate. AirAsia is based in Malaysia.
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Old 26th Jul 2020, 23:38
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Flying is no longer piloting but systems operation. You no longer are a Captain as decision's will be made by the manager back at base.
Clearly a statement from someone who is not a pilot but having done an aviation management course think they know how aeroplanes work.
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 00:42
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Wrong Country mate
Afraid not, albeit non airline, but nevertheless a major operator, though it's possible things have changed now.
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Old 27th Jul 2020, 00:44
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A few years ago we had a 50 year old with a brand new CPL get taken on, about 4 years later he was upgraded to Captain. That won't be happening again for a long time.

Newly qualified licence holders will be waiting for a long time for their first break and there will obviously be issues with recency, but those who are in their 20s still have a chance of an aviation career.

Those who are 60+ and were flying A380/B747 probably won't be going back and need to grab the best early retirement/voluntary redundancy package they can get.

Those in their 50s are a mixed bag. Some may have done well enough to consider early retirement where as others still need the golden years in the left seat to set themselves up. Some may be on obsolete types and not worth retraining where as others may be on new types and can justify being employed for another 15 years.

Those in their 40s flying heavy equipment such as A330/B787 should be okay but may be out for a couple of years until demand returns. They have a good level of experience and can easily downgrade to narrow body if needed.

Captains around the age of 30 flying A320/B737 will have it best as they can still have 30 years flying ahead of them once travel picks up again, are still reasonably sharp when it comes to regaining their skills and domestic/regional will be the first sector to recover.

Any projected pilot shortage in 10 years time isn't worth considering for the politicians, just kick it down the road for whoever's in charge then.
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