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Years ahead - surplus or shortage of pilots?

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Years ahead - surplus or shortage of pilots?

Old 23rd May 2008, 12:44
  #1 (permalink)  
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Present to years ahead - surplus or shortage of pilots?

Hi guys, would appreciate answers from Captains and First Officers already in the field.

Looking at the international economy especially with the rising oil prices, of over $135/barrel and rising, and its direct impact on the aviation industry what advice can you give to individuals who would like to be commercial pilots and plan to start flight training shortly?

I know aviation is cyclical and stuff but what do you forecast for the future. The major question is below:

For the present time and the years ahead do you think there will be few pilot jobs due to a surplus of pilots (brought on by failed airlines) OR do you think there will be a shortage of pilots for the present time and the years ahead.

I think the above question will be the question of the day! Thanks and look forward to your replies guys.

Last edited by Toujours; 23rd May 2008 at 13:31.
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Old 23rd May 2008, 13:01
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Just look at the oil-prices , environmental / political aspects , and me ( as a 737NG capt. ) think that aviation will become more and more for the elite. The man in the street with his family will soon be no longer capable of flying.
'Low-cost' started to generate extra pax , who doesn't want to see Barcelona for just a nickel ? , but I think reductions in capacity are about to come , and they will be surprisingly big ............................?
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Old 23rd May 2008, 13:45
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I imagine it will be similar to it is today: surplus of newly qualified pilots, and a shortage of qualified/experienced pilots.

If there are major layoffs, there will be a bigger surplus on the markets ofcourse, but at least they are qualified. So when recruitment is on the 'up', there will be qualified pilots to fill the roles.

And still, there will be a surplus of newly qualified/inexperienced pilots out there (except maybe for the very rich, who can afford SSTRs/line training etc etc).
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Old 23rd May 2008, 18:07
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There will likely ALWAYS be jobs available at the bottom of the heap, as experienced pilots "graduate" to better jobs. However, GETTING the required qualifications and experience will cost more and pay less...
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Old 23rd May 2008, 18:19
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Well, there are a lot of people on here who would disagree with that. Especially those in the wannabe forums.
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Old 23rd May 2008, 19:11
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Surplus Or Shortage

The most worrying trend is that we're going to end up with a shortage of people with good hands and good airmanship but a surplus of machine minders.

Last edited by Ali Qadoo; 23rd May 2008 at 19:12. Reason: speeling
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Old 23rd May 2008, 19:18
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Think back to the 70's when the first big oil price rises happened. ISTR reports in the years afterwards that pilots quickly lost currency and couldn't afford to remain qualified. Quite a number didn't get back to work as pilots.

On Radio 4 today there was a report concerning "peak oil", experts suggested that we have had the first peak where "sweet" crude oil for Kerosene etc -demand can't be met. They were predicting that by 2011- 2013 we would hits further peaks for heavier fuels and peak oil full stop. The only benefit is that this should give the economic push to find other fuels.

Hydrogen powered aircraft anyone?

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Old 23rd May 2008, 20:13
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be a pilot if you want to be away from your family too much, work Christmas and other holidays. Always be watching out for losing your job, your life, your reputation in the business.

the flight attendants will get uglier, the planes will be less fun to fly ,and if you still want to do it, there will always be more pilots than jobs.

27 years ago I was teaching people to fly. one worked for apple computer and offered me a job there. I didn't take it.

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Old 23rd May 2008, 20:42
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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Remember you only pass this way once!!

If you really want to do it, go for it, but be realistic about the job.

The good points

The view from the front is the best in the world.
The money/work ratio compared with most normal jobs is positive (LHS)
You'll meet some interesting people
There's no dog shit airside to step in

The bad
Getting in is very expensive 60-100k
Its takes a lot of time 2-5years
You probably wont work where you (or your family) live
Your job security is lowish
You need a sense of humour to deal with the daily security (remember you earn an hour what they get a day and keep your mouth shut)
You'll be at work when your mates are out (with your wife/girl friend)!!


Talk to as many current pilots as you can and see how they deal with it.
Make sure you can get a class 1 medical before you spend a penny
Go for some trial lessons on a less than perfect day!!
Use a good training company
If you can fund it do a full course (60k+)
Timing is important, you want to becoming out on an upswing and we have yet to enter the down swing but its coming!!
Avoid the negative vibes on PPRuNe

Above all keep your focus and network like a prostitute

Live the dream, my only regret is not doing it earlier

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Old 23rd May 2008, 20:53
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But be under no illusion that spending this amount of money guarentees you a job.

Right now it should be all about minimizing your exposure to risk. Unless Mummy and Daddy can bail you out (i.e. remortgaging the house [crazy! - especially with reducing house prices = possible negative equity]), spending 60k and above in one chunk may not be the soundest descision a wannabe could make.

But, I completely agree, it's all about keeping positive (I must try to remeber this before I post on here!).

Last edited by geordiejet; 23rd May 2008 at 21:09.
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Old 23rd May 2008, 21:03
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You'll be at work when your mates are out (with your wife/girl friend)!!
Looks like you chose the wrong mates or woman!
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Old 23rd May 2008, 21:32
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Bovvered thanks for your detailed answer and advice! You regretted not starting earlier; what age did you start to fly and what age did you get your first airline job?
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Old 23rd May 2008, 22:11
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I re-started at 25 performing every year a course..CPL-ATPL-MCC..ecc.. and I got my first aviation job 2 years ago..

It's a good expirience, be positive and never give up...you 'll reach your goal

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Old 24th May 2008, 00:15
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You will be tested with your patience, luck and persistancy.

I have both been lucky and unlucky.

Yes, allocating will almost be certain. Travelling is fun. The first 3 years. After that, well you might have to start thinking of stop commuting.

There will always be jobs for us, the question is just how many, and how the aviation business will change in the next... say 2 years.

I really think we will see a lot of changes

For the better or worse
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Old 24th May 2008, 14:36
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Second tier effect of oil price hike

Definitely a surplus.
The overall impact of the oil hike on the world economy is:


Every single price has gone up. This affects food, utilities, transport. Our jobs depend on the ability of people to travel. Look at the consolidation that has already started in the airline business in India... The growing economies of India and China were upping the demand for pilots till now. Once the growth slows down over there...

American airline industry has barely pulled through since 9/11. Europe's tourist growth has been fed by the strong Euro (but now even the well traveled Europeans will start having second thoughts about visiting this holiday home 2 times a month).

We are looking at a global travel slow-down in the next 12 months as fuel hedging will not cope with prices of more than 120 USD. And this can become a grinding stop in the foreseeable future if the oil goes to 150-200 as quite a few specialists forecast.


swish266 is offline  
Old 24th May 2008, 17:41
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As a few other posters have stated the key issue as far as recruitment is concerned is the affordability of aviation going forward. Not only will flying become more expensive in the face of long term fuel price increases but also the ability of individuals to afford flights in the face of an increased cost of living (running a car, home heating, electricity, food etc) will diminish. Capacity is already reducing. For those working for airlines with deep pockets things may not be so bad: as weaker airlines collapse, those remaining will have a greater market share in a marketplace with fewer competitors.

As to surplus vs shortage: I suspect within a few years there will be a surplus of experienced flightcrew. By experienced I simply mean holding an ATPL. I also believe there will continue be a surplus of CPL/IR holders in Europe looking for a break into the airline industry.

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Old 24th May 2008, 18:39
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We've been here before

You can either take the view that the industry is on its arse (it isn't) or that there will be a slow down, highly likely.

People will not stop flying anymore than they will stop driving, sure they'll fly a little less, but the med routes are safe, because people are used to going there, have property there or access to property( probably why Ryanair have opened base in ALC & AGP) however the people who will still travel wont put up with Ryanairs crap customer services level and can afford to pick and choose.

What will decline is the travel to places you've never heard of because it is so cheap it would be rude not to!!

If i knew what oil was going to do i wouldn't be doing my day job, but its unlikely to stay above $100 for long and i suspect that a year from now (depending on who gets the white house) it will be nearer $80 which is still too much, flights at 29.99 base price rather than 9.99 or 19.99 are still afordable.

So a slow down yes, but if you start your training in late 2009 or 2010 you should be coming out around the time the people who could/should have retired at 60 are reaching 65 and by then we may be back to a normal business enviorment.

At what point to start worrying? well if FGS go tits up that would be a worrying sign but not terminal, if Jet2 go under then i would delay at least a year ditto the likes of baby, the rest should be ok but smaller

good luck
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Old 24th May 2008, 19:11
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Its a "no brainer" - there will definately be a future pilot surplus. Trouble is waiting around the corner for all of us in the form of a full blown recession - the state of the housing market has always has always been a good indicator as to how things are gooing to look in the aviation industry. and at the moment its not looking good - rising mortgage costs and a stagnant market with people still deluding themselves that their properties are worth what they think they are.

The credit crunch, the high levels of personal debt, future economic uncertainty, inflationary pressures, Energy and oil prices, etc etc are very worrying.

Its true that people will continue to fly as they see it as an accepted method of transport in our modern age - the fact is they will travel much less and this will have an impact within the industry -its just a matter of time before one of the smaller low costs goes under .

Its not all bad news as history will repeat itself when the next boom cycle comes around - we could be in for a long wait though!
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Old 24th May 2008, 19:53
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Hi i'm a teenage wannabe and i found it quite interesting to read this forum. I like to read through Aviation related things and i was reading the aerospace section in the idependent. The article said that airbus was expecting a need for 22,000 new aircraft over the next 12 years. I was very surprised to hear this as more and more airlines seem to be making the noises of financial difficulties ahead.

What surprised me more was the fact that the 22,000 aircraft was just what they had estimated for commercial passenger aircraft never mind cargo. This estimate seemed to go against everything i had read. What do you guys think about the figures ?

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Old 24th May 2008, 23:07
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I believe we're in for a paradigm change in transportation:

In my opinion there will be a significant decline in discretionary travel until a number of issues have been resolved. I believe there is little incentive by governments to exert down ward pressure on the price of Oil, the global environment can only benefit if there is a decline in the use of fossil fuel, many country's infrastructure is overburdened and they would like to get people out of their cars and into the trains and buses.

In aviation we are waiting for a leap forward with a new method of propulsion, we are again looking at the unducted fan as a way to become more fuel efficient but that is still the same technology.

I also believe that it is the intention of the industrialized countries of Europe and North America to lessen their dependence on Oil and the political implications of that. (Osama Bin Laden would not be half as dangerous without money as he is with it!)

I'm thinking of taking up sailing!

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