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Pilot shortage - myth or reality?

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Pilot shortage - myth or reality?

Old 28th Jan 2019, 10:45
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Pilot shortage - myth or reality?

Dear Members of the forum,

After a handful of applications being rejected for myself and my colleagues, after meeting numerous jobless pilots during the airline interviews, I am trying to understand, how it is possible that the industry experiences the shortage of pilots, even though there are loads of licence holders ready to fly and unable to get a position. Hence, after many thoughts I would like you (newbies and experienced pilots) to express your opinions about the pilots' shortage issue. Is it real? Does the airline industry actually needs that many pilots? Or is it just a campaign induced by the airline industry, flight training organisations and aircraft manufacturers to support their revenue by increasing number of pilots trained and reducing their wages at airlines?
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 11:37
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Originally Posted by vp89 View Post
Hence, after many thoughts I would like you (newbies and experienced pilots) to express your opinions about the pilots' shortage issue. Is it real?
As far as the US goes, I remain a skeptic about the whole shortage notion. There's admittedly pressure on the system in spots; that's not a shortage.

But, we're all largely The Blind Men and the Elephant on the subject.

I get the impression that Europe is also flush with aspiring pilots.

Every pilot on earth began as a 200 hour-ish pilot; not one is born with 10,000 hours large airplane PIC time.

The industry may have to reconsider how those new pilots get from new to experienced but there'll be plenty of aspirants for the industry to bring along.

I suggest the problem lies with the calcified thought processes of the industry itself.

Last edited by bafanguy; 28th Jan 2019 at 11:50.
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 12:05
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No shortage

My experience and feel is that it is not a pilot shortage at all. Only the bottom feeders are in demand but that is only because their T&C are shit. Very much induced by airlines and Flight schools, I heard the same in 2010 and it was surely Not a shortage then... u needed 500-1000 hrs on type to even be considered.
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 12:25
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When you are in a job there seems to be a complete shortage as everyone needing people, once out of a job there is no shortage and nobody hiring.
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 12:54
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I am actually working in recruitment for a company that hires „200hrs-pilots“ and offers a free A320 type rating (2yrs bond- a fair deal I think).
There are enough candidates who apply but there‘s also a high number that just isn‘t suitable for the job.
So I agree that there is a shortage of SKILLED pilots (independent of prev. flight experience).

Last edited by MXer; 28th Jan 2019 at 13:15.
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 15:21
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reality.
I found a job, on jet, I would never have found one in 2008 or so...date where I finished my training and was unemployed.
So it is a reality.
Good luck
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 15:44
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There is no shortage and there never ever has been one. Myth.
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 20:25
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Originally Posted by vp89 View Post
Dear Members of the forum,

After a handful of applications being rejected for myself and my colleagues, after meeting numerous jobless pilots during the airline interviews, I am trying to understand, how it is possible that the industry experiences the shortage of pilots, even though there are loads of licence holders ready to fly and unable to get a position.
Unfortunately, simply holding a licence does not necessarily equate to being a fit for the position on offer. I think it has been said a lot... it's not a "pilot shortage"... it's an "experienced/skilled pilot shortage". I know where I am, they stated during the interview and during initial training that while they really really really needed pilots, they had not, and would not, lower their standards.

So, despite the jokes to contrary, airlines in general, require a lot more than "a licence and a pulse"... Unfortunately, in a place like Europe where recruitment of 200 hr pilots onto jets is seen as the "norm"... it's ridiculously easy to get the 200hr part, not so easy to get the "what the airlines want" part. So you end up with a lot of 200hr pilots, a lot of whom cannot get jobs as this particular market is saturated and/or they simply don't have the other qualities that airlines are looking for.

Elsewhere in the world, where things like 1000+ TT for a regional turboprop job is the "norm", there is more of a shortage because, while it is still easy to get the 200hr part (pay your money, do your flight training), it isn't so easy to get the other 800+ hours... and on top of that, the airlines generally want "quality" 800+ hours... like ATO or Turbine or Multi time.

And even if you manage to crack the hours... airlines still want the other things like personality, attitude, ability to cope under pressure etc... I know several experienced guys who were unsuccessful at interviews.
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 20:29
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Hence, what the most of you are saying, airlines need pilots with some experience. That is totally understandable as you will find no company in the industry willing to spend money on their employees. However, the airline industry is different as young pilots need a significant investment in their training, whether for ab-initio or type-rating. And this is where the hindrance exists. If there is a guarantee of a position after training, the investment is reasonable. But now the issue is that you are not guaranteed of anything. Thus, the question is how to stop the industry pulling the wool over young pilots' eyes? Moreover, how to stop the industry looking at young people as cash cows? The picture of a pilot job as almost a royal privilege with money raining was created during the decades, but now it looks just like a Ponzi scheme, where the young people are buying uncertainty rather than choosing another careers with less investment.
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 20:46
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Yes, I agree a giant pyramid or ponzi scheme.
I have said the same. no light at end of tunnel
IF I apply for a FO job on a GV and they want 3000 TT and 500 hours on a jet
and I only have 200 hours multi piston time and they reject me. OK fine
but when I have applied for many jobs for FO on a ce500 and they want
1500 TT and just 100 multi and then they reject me (happened many times)
they should not cry about not being able to find pilots. Ive even written a letter
to FAA OKC explaining who I applied to and what I offer in terms of experience
and licenses etc and am not able to find a job. I did that so if any of these
airlines 121 or 135 cry to FAA about not being able to find pilots the FAA can
counter their claims by using me as an example ! Fortunately I have a cfi job
in california training mainly chinese students and some indians. the chinese
students get free ride 0 to a320 fo job ! the company pays all their training
, food, housing etc.me 80k in all my training, study, hard work. i dont expect anything
from anyone but dont cry about a pilot shortage when i applied to your airline
and you didnt even bother to reply or you told me to spend 65 dollars on some
airline apps web site. im not spending money time just to apply for a job!
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 23:06
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I would say that there is a kind of shortage. In my previous company in Europe(stable rosters, 5 weeks vacation, no overnights) I could see less candidates coming for the assessments every year. On the other hand, the company never improved their conditions even when the biggest ”hunger” started and I heard some guys rather joined Ryanair for example.

But what definitely got worse was the quality of the candidates. 1st year - everybody was fine with the standard number of sectors in the line training, 2nd year - couple of new colleagues failed the skill test, lot of added sectors in the line training, 3rd year - even morelot added sectors, one guy even fired because he was unable to finish line training...

And if you compare the requirements that some companies posted some 5 years ago with the requirements now you will agree, that they got lower...
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Old 29th Jan 2019, 07:04
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After a handful of applications being rejected for myself and my colleagues, after meeting numerous jobless pilots during the airline interviews, I am trying to understand, how it is possible that the industry experiences the shortage of pilots, even though there are loads of licence holders ready to fly and unable to get a position. Hence, after many thoughts I would like you (newbies and experienced pilots) to express your opinions about the pilots' shortage issue. Is it real? Does the airline industry actually needs that many pilots? Or is it just a campaign induced by the airline industry, flight training organisations and aircraft manufacturers to support their revenue by increasing number of pilots trained and reducing their wages at airlines?
Interesting one. I have lived through several projected "pilot shortages” and they seemed similar to other shortages, like water and food, where the underlying problem was distribution rather than an absolute lack of resources. There is also the issue in our market where one unemployed pilot = surplus but one less than required = cancelled flights, plus the fact that aircraft manufacturers are always extremely bullish about future demand/production, which drives a lot of the “we need X more pilots in the next Y years” stuff.

Things *may* be a little different this time round as there will be significant numbers of the most experienced pilots leaving the industry in the coming decade - you can tell a slight squeeze is happening already as for the right candidates, some of the contracts in places like China are having the T&Cs ramped up considerably. This doesn’t immediately help those down at the 200hr level but it is an encouraging sign.

Back in the day, there were three main routes into the airlines: self-improver/GA, military and airline sponsored. Now, it’s much more difficult/expensive to come in by the hours-building route, the militaries have been sucked almost dry and most airlines have got greedy and let private concerns make a “product” for them. The last item I think will be the most problematic as it has divorced supply from demand: as long as they’re making money the schools are happy to churn out pilots but that is constrained to those who are able to pay for it in the first place. There are rumours of some carriers starting up cadet schemes but the lead times from having the idea to someone qualified and sitting in the RHS are long.

The final problem is that being a somewhat cyclical industry, historically the growth/shrinkage of airline capacity has been rather out of phase with pilot supply, in that you train up a load of pilots and by the time they’re ready to do the jobs they aren't there any more...
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Old 29th Jan 2019, 08:11
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Unfortunately, simply holding a licence does not necessarily equate to being a fit for the position on offer. I think it has been said a lot... it's not a "pilot shortage"... it's an "experienced/skilled pilot shortage". I know where I am, they stated during the interview and during initial training that while they really really really needed pilots, they had not, and would not, lower their standards.

So, despite the jokes to contrary, airlines in general, require a lot more than "a licence and a pulse"...
A few years ago I attended with my son a British Airways presentation re recruitment of young guys and girls to become pilots.
" Hands up who wants to be a pilot" got the obvious response.
" We are not recruiting pilots!!! We are looking for people who can manage a team. They will then be trained to fly."
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Old 29th Jan 2019, 09:50
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Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
As far as the US goes, I remain a skeptic about the whole shortage notion. There's admittedly pressure on the system in spots; that's not a shortage.

But, we're all largely The Blind Men and the Elephant on the subject.

I get the impression that Europe is also flush with aspiring pilots.

Every pilot on earth began as a 200 hour-ish pilot; not one is born with 10,000 hours large airplane PIC time.

The industry may have to reconsider how those new pilots get from new to experienced but there'll be plenty of aspirants for the industry to bring along.

I suggest the problem lies with the calcified thought processes of the industry itself.
My salary doubled as a BE99 PIC. My company pays BE1900 captains now 100k/yr. These are entry level gigs, 1,200h TT. Looking at the regionals, making 60k 1st year isn't bad either, or Delta, Southwest, their Captains are making bank, same for their F/Os.
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Old 29th Jan 2019, 10:26
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Old 29th Jan 2019, 11:35
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Originally Posted by EDDT View Post
"The ‘pilot shortage’ debate is an oversimplified way to brand the ‘coverup’ of many structural problems in the industry."

That's a really good article and supports my notion of "...the calcified thought processes of the industry itself.".

Last edited by bafanguy; 29th Jan 2019 at 14:36.
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Old 29th Jan 2019, 14:55
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Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
"The ‘pilot shortage’ debate is an oversimplified way to brand the ‘coverup’ of many structural problems in the industry."

That's a really good article and supports my notion of "...the calcified thought processes of the industry itself.".
Indeed. Currently experience that myself. My current employer decided to hire quite a few number of ex captains, that passed the DEC process and then put them in the right seat. Due to its extremely long winded and calcified structures they will not be captains again, either for quite a few years, or forever with that outfit. Therefore, any notion of having a shortage even of qualified and experienced pilots seems to be completely bogus. Now, why do those individuals stay there? Simply, the conditions are still better than with other outfits and the quality of life wins in the end.
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Old 29th Jan 2019, 20:16
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Originally Posted by EDDT View Post
A good article. It seems to justify the approach of 'Aviation Universities' like Purdue and Embry Riddle where flying is a 'lab' in the degrees awarded. So the more rounded aviation education is provided to bachelors or masters level as 'just another' STEM subject.
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Old 30th Jan 2019, 05:05
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It took me 3 years to get my first job, on a single piston. That lasted a few months. After that 2 and a half years later and I got a short gig on a multi turboprop. Another 1 year 10 months in-between jobs I managed to get on a slightly bigger turboprop. That lasted for about 1 and a half years. All the jobs up to that point paid less than $1000 a month. Now finally I'm on a modern jet airliner earning decent money.

There is a massive shortage for experienced crew. For low time guys/gals bite the bullet and keep pushing for that break, or call it a day and throw in the towel.
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Old 30th Jan 2019, 05:25
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Myth. Longer term strategy to drive down terms and conditions.

The airlines need to get more pilots fighting for a job. And it is working, flying schools in Europe have solid bookings for ATPL courses. As supply goes up, conditions go down, fact of life hombre.

I have only ever read article’s from manufacturers and employers saying there is a shortage, NEVER A PILOT/JOBSEEKER.


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