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Pilots in Demand: A Look at the Aviation Industry

Pilots in Demand: A Look at the Aviation IndustryAirlines are growing both domestically and internationally, and as a result pilots are very much in demand. Here’s a look at the state of the aviation industry related to pilots, and how to position yourself for success in the years to come, courtesy of PilotCareerCentre.com.

Just 10 years ago, worldwide air travel was predicted to reach record levels between 2015 and 2020. The industry has potentially exceeded these predictions as global aviation supply and demand continues to grow. As a result, airlines here and abroad are struggling to crew their airplanes as they expand.

Domestic regionals are growing

In the United States, the regional airlines — which were once some of the cheapest, lowest paying aviation companies — have been increasing their pay rates to attract new pilots. Some domestic regionals now offer between $10,000 and $15,000 signing bonuses for new-hire first officers. For reference, the annual pay not long ago for a newly-hired pilot was on average $28,000.

The demand for pilots is so great among many regionals, that some have begun partnering with U.S. flight schools to create programs that develop candidates from flight training to flight instructing, to the regional airline, and later to the associated major airline. The country’s major airlines are big and growing, taking the majority of their new-hires from the regional airlines.

International recruiting internationally

In 2016, with the pilot shortages, surprisingly low oil/jet-fuel prices, and massive demand for global air travel, most international airlines are struggling to operate their expanding schedules. As a result, many international airlines’ recruitment teams are now travelling the globe to meet, attract, and recruit experienced candidate pilots.

For the last three years, the big three Middle East Airlines (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways) have been sending their pilot recruitment personnel across the globe to host global pilot recruitment fairs. Today these recruitment fairs are much more than “meet and greets.” They involve partial screenings and offer simulator evaluations, all in an effort to recruit, hire and retain qualified pilots and first officers.

In China, Hainan Airlines also holds pilot recruitment fairs in Europe, Australia, and the United States. China has no fewer than 10 large airlines searching for experienced Captains to fly their B737NGs, A320s, A330s, B757/B767s, B787s, B777s and B747-400s.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is in desperate need of pilots and has set up three ways to enter the airline, from local HKG cadets with zero experience to newly licensed pilots, to medium experienced pilots. Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express (low-cost) continue to expand and hire pilots.

Next door in South East Asia, low-cost airlines, such as AirAsia, Lion Air, Citylink, Tiger Airways, Malindo, Nok Air, and Scoot have had a massive effect and share some of the highest expansion rates in the world.

The Indian Airline industry, with oil at record lows, has returned to boom status. All airlines in the subcontinent are desperate to hire type rated and non-type rated, experienced captains and first officers.

In Australia, Qantas will be looking to hire pilots at a high rate over the next three-to-four years, drawing pilots from QantasLink and other regional airlines in the area.

And in Europe, airlines including British Airways, Iberia, and low-cost giants Ryanair, Wizz Air, and Veuling are all expanding and seeking to hire qualified pilots.

Over the last 18 months, Turkish Airlines, Jet2, and British Airways have sent their pilot recruitment teams to the Middle East to host their own pilot recruitment roadshows to try to convince European pilots flying there to return home to Europe — attempting to attract them with steady rosters, lower fatigue levels, and lower monthly block hours — seen as very important in 2016.

Business aviation booming

Business aviation, including private aviation for high wealth individuals, corporate aviation for expanding companies, and VIP aviation for heads of state etc. has exploded over the last 10 years.

Advances in technology, luxury and comfort in this sector have led to heady competition between global business jet companies. Bombardier, Gulfstream, and Dassault Falcon all produce immaculate, state-of-the-art “business jets” that cross oceans at record altitudes, speeds, times, and comfort levels. At the same time, successful businesses around the world are utilizing new, affordable Very Light Business Jets to help them close sales, meet new clients, etc. And you guessed it: they need more pilots and flight crews to keep up with the demand and competition.

Position yourself for success

So what can new and experienced pilots do to position themselves well? Do some research and understand how your own local aviation industry is evolving. Talk to people in the industry, at the local flight school, charter company, airlines, etc. And from there, be responsible for your own career path and opportunities. Decide what you want to do and where you want to be and carve out your own future.

Source: Pilotcareercentre.com

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