That is the headline of a very interesting article I read in the Cleveland Plain Dealer today. The article describes the situation that Liam Broderick, a young furloughed airline pilot, finds himself in and the reasons why he is very optimistic about his future in the airline industry.
The article also points out why labor forecasters say that Liam is right:
The Labor Department estimates that by 2016 the aviation industry will need to hire 14,000 pilots because of higher demand for air travel, plus thousands more to replace current pilots who will retire. In 2006, there were an estimated 107,000 pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers, including 79,000 at airlines. Much of the hiring will be done at regional and low-cost carriers, according to the Labor Department.
Younger pilots will be needed, they say, to replace retiring baby boomers. By some estimates, about one-fourth of the nation’s 400,000 airline workers are already eligible to retire. Experts say the aviation industry would be facing a pilot shortage already, but that many “Boomers” put off retirement because of the economy.
“We’ll come out of the recession and those people will be even closer to retirement,” said Tom Captain, who runs the aerospace and defense practice at consultant Deloitte LLP. “The crisis is still pending, it’s just been delayed.”
The airlines’ financial problems have unfortunately “probably changed the perception of the career somewhat,” said Daniel Garton, American’s executive vice president of marketing. But he said hiring will resume relatively soon. “It’ll be exciting; it’ll be a shot in the arm.”
Broderick, the young pilot laid off from his first job, landed on his feet by going back to work as a flight instructor. He is grateful to his employer and enjoys the work, but he really wants to be at the controls of a jetliner again.
“I know enough people who hate their jobs,” he said, “and that’s not how I want to live.”