Are Pilots in Demand?

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In the current global scenario, travel across different countries has increased all over, whether it’s for leisure or work.

The increase in travel has especially spiked post-pandemic. More people want to explore the world and even work while away from their offices. 

So, the answer to the question, “Are Pilots in Demand?”, is YES. Pilots are in huge demand for both national and international flights across many countries. 

Pilot Salary

The annual salaries of pilots depend on several factors. Such as:

  • Education & Certifications
  • City
  • Airline
  • Experience (in years)
  • Type of Aircraft flown before
  • Regional vs Major Airlines

According to the report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for airline and commercial pilots, during the year 2021, has been around $134, 630 per year.

Demand For Pilots After Covid

In 2019 or before the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a high demand for pilots in the aviation industry. The pandemic only exacerbated this demand due to the rise in travel plans of passengers. 

At the height of the pandemic, there were numerous pilots who were given leave due to early retirement. This factor added to the demand for pilots. 

This surge in travel demand in 2021, resulted in challenges for different airline companies to manage their flight schedules leading to delays and cancellations. This demand for pilots is causing damage not only to airlines but also to consumers. 

Passengers over the globe are paying higher airfares that will only increase in the coming years if the demand is not supplied.

Lesser number of flights available results in a lower capacity of seat availability. These difficulties result in poor services by airline companies. 

Pilot Shortage 2022

Picture of an empty cockpit of a plane on the runway.

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The workforce in the aviation industry has had many barriers in their careers. For pilots, a few such barriers include:

  • Cost of Training 
  • Mandatory Retirement

The education and training required to qualify as a pilot take a huge toll monetarily as the training is quite expensive. It is also time-consuming as a pilot needs to undergo a long training program and fly a certain number of hours to qualify. 

The mandatory retirement age is 65 for pilots. Although, during the pandemic, airlines saw a rise in early retirement due to the lockdown conditions and lesser number of planes taking a flight. 

Retirement along with the high costs of training are becoming the leading factors in the shortage of pilots in the aviation industry. 

Another major reason for the post-pandemic shortage observed for pilots is the increasing number of passengers and their demand for travel, domestic and international. 

Airline Pilots Salary

Pay for a pilot is affected by many factors. The median annual salary in May 2021 for commercial pilots was $99,640 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The reports showed the median annual salary for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers to be $202,180 in May 2021. 

These figures are only increasing since. The rise in demand has made airline companies give hikes in the salaries of pilots, along with other perks such as reduction in the costs of training, and other health and retirement benefits.

Pilot Demand Forecast

Two pilots in the cockpit of a plane

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The Covid-19 pandemic has vastly affected all industries including healthcare, digital, and education industries, among others. The aviation industry is no different. 

The pilot demand has been observed since a few years pre-pandemic and the demand has only risen post-pandemic. There are multiple reasons for the surge in this demand. 

One of the major reasons is the significant rise in passenger air traffic worldwide leading to this record demand. Various analyses of the aviation industry predict that the markets will keep on growing over the next decade. 

This growth in the market will be due to the growth of the fleet of different companies. Boeing, Airbus, and Embraer, all leading manufacturers of aircraft are predicted to increase their commercial fleets to match the increasing passenger demands. 

The pilot demand forecast also predicts that in the next 10 years, the markets will have over 11,000 additional businesses joining the current companies. This will lead to more business and commercial fleets of planes joining the existing fleet all over the world.  

There is a great increase in the number of companies, aircraft, and flights taking off. The civil aviation industry will need 260,000 new pilots and more over the next decade, says Nick Leontidis, CAE Group President. 

How Long Will the Demand For Pilots Last?

The demand for pilots is on the rise globally. A region or country requires more pilots than others depending on the air traffic of passengers.

This data also changes as per the traffic of pilots. They can choose to work at particular locations where they seem beneficial in terms of money, traffic of flights, and safety, among other factors.

Therefore, the demand for pilots will last for a long period. Various reports show that the demand will exist and increase over the next decade.  

The government and aviation institutions are trying to match the demand-supply ratio by increasing salaries and cutting off the high costs of education and training programs required to become a pilot.

Various airline companies are also trying to match the need of pilots by providing training programs themselves, and also by providing financial aid.

Many companies are doing deeper R&D work to gain insights through data and analytics to understand and better manage the rising need for pilots. They are also trying to develop Artificial Intelligence to meet the needs of the aviation crew and also their safety requirements. 

Why Don’t More People Become Pilots?

The steps to becoming a pilot are high-demanding in terms of money, time, and effort. The training and education cost a lot.

This is one of the factors for many individuals to choose not to become a pilot. Other reasons can include: 

  • Personal Life: The job keeps you away from your family and friends. This can lead to a disrupted social life and a reason for not becoming a pilot.
  • Sleep Patterns: The schedule for flights keeps varying and this can disturb sleep patterns. This can affect the health of pilots.
  • Health: Flying at heights, having no fixed sleep schedule, and exposure to cabin pressure adversely affect health.
  • Pay: The pay depends on the company pilots get hired to. Many companies pay lesser than the average salary, and even with higher pay, it gets difficult to earn back the expenses made during the training. 

Are Pilots in Demand Reddit

Individuals eager to make a career in the aviation industry, ask this question very frequently. “Are pilots in demand?” The answer to the question is positive.

Yes, there is a high demand for pilots and people can build bright careers that pay well as pilots.

The shortage of pilots worldwide is predicted to increase in the coming years. Analysis of data on increase in air traffic of travelers and shortage of pilots reveals this increasing demand. 

Commercial Pilot vs Airline Pilot

To put the difference between a commercial pilot and an airline pilot in simple terms, every airline pilot is a commercial pilot, but every commercial pilot is not an airline pilot. 

An airline pilot can work with an airline company while also having a license to fly private jets and other planes. Whereas, a commercial pilot can’t work for an airline and can only fly helicopters and private jets. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifies various civilian flight schools. Airline pilots need a bachelor’s degree and experience as commercial or military pilots.

They also require an ATP certificate (Airline Transport Pilot certificate) in case of flying commercial airliners. To gain this certificate, applicants must meet a certain set of requirements. 

Commercial pilots must meet age criteria and flight-hour requirements, along with the supervision of a flight instructor to gain the Commercial pilot certificate. Some employers also look for a degree in their applicants.

Commercial pilots also need to pass the medical exam, along with a written and practical flight exam that tests their knowledge and aviation skills. 

How to Become a Pilot

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Many young people raise the question of how to become a pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration looks over the qualification of pilots.

Every individual seeking a career in the aviation industry as a pilot must meet some requirements mentioned under the FAA that can be completed through certification programs and their ratings. 

Normally, an airline pilot requires a bachelor’s degree and an experience as a military or commercial pilot to get qualified.

Whereas, a commercial pilot normally requires to complete a minimum flight-hour experience and some other set of requirements depending on the employer. 

FAQ Relating to Are Pilots In Demand?

If you are looking to build a career in the aviation industry as a pilot, this is the perfect time to get into the industry. 

Is There a Pilot Demand?

Yes, there is a huge rise in the demand for pilots globally. There are high chances for you to get paid extremely well as a pilot in this age of need for pilots. 

Is There a Pilot Shortage?

Post-pandemic, there has been a record surge in passengers traveling and air traffic. Many pilots retiring during the pandemic and the rush of people wanting to explore the world has led to an increase in the shortage of pilots

Is Demand For Pilots Decreasing?

There is no scope for the demand for pilots to decrease for the coming several years. In fact, the shortage of pilots is just going to get a lot worse.

This is due to more aircraft being added by various companies, and the rise in demand for flights, among other factors. 

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