I read an article today that talked about the pilot shortage that is impacting the airline industry right now. The article points out that according to a report issued last year by the Regional Airline Association, the major airlines will need to replace 18,000 pilots within the next seven years when they reach the mandatory retirement age of 65.
The report also says the rate at which new airline transport pilot licenses, the highest certification given by the Federal Aviation Administration, has been greatly reduced.
Despite the cost of training, retired airline pilot Jim Green says it is worth it.
“You work eight to 12 days a month and make up to $300,000 a year,” Captain Green said about being a senior pilot with a major airline. Green himself retired in 2007 after 26 years working for United Airlines, spending 21 years as a pilot.
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing projects that the global industry will need 558,000 new pilots in the next 20 years to meet demand, 95,000 new pilots in the U.S. alone. Not meeting the demand could mean reduced service from regional airliners, higher fare prices and a weakened national infrastructure.
But that also means there is an opportunity for young people wanting to enter the airline industry.
“The supply-demand curve is shifting in their favor,” Green said. “There has never been a better opportunity and there is no better job than being an airline pilot.”
Clearly, a career flying as an airline pilot is as exciting and as lucrative as it has always been. It is the opportunities for people to capture this career that has changed, and it has changed for the better.
When a person decides to take advantage of the opportunity to have a successful airline career, the best way to proceed is to begin their career by flight training with the company which gives them the best chance of being well prepared to succeed. When you begin your airline career seniority will govern many of your career choices, so get the job first with ATP.