Paris Airshow Aircraft Orders Point to Severe Pilot Shortage

Clear signs are emerging of a long-expected and much talked about severe pilot shortage. At the Paris Airshow last week, both Airbus and Boeing booked orders for more than $25 billion in airliner sales. AirAsia alone ordered 200 aircraft.

Total contracts at the Le Bourget Airshow topped $87 billion. Boeing Flight Services vice-president, Sherry Carbary, announced an updated version of the company’s well-respected “Market Outlook” report at the show, which increased the number of pilots needed to meet current demand from 446,500 to 459,600.

To have enough pilots trained and ready to meet the demand, the industry needs about 23,000 new pilots per year just in North America. Comparing that number to the number of pilots currently training to fly for the airline industry, that leaves a deficit of at least 2,000 additional pilots per year that are needed to enter flight training to fly for the airline industry.