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May 23, 2018

Study reveals EU could face major pilot shortage

The lack of collaborative action taken by the EU in the past two years to tackle the pilot skills crisis could result in a major pilot shortage in the future, a report by UK-based aviation recruitment specialists AeroProfessional has revealed.

By Adele Berti

The lack of collaborative action taken by the EU in the past two years to tackle the pilot skills crisis could result in a major pilot shortage in the future, a report by UK-based aviation recruitment specialists AeroProfessional has revealed.

In a study published on Tuesday titled ‘Grounded before take-off: EU regional pilot shortage perspective two years on’, the firm said that staffing issues and shortfalls within European airlines are expected to worsen in the coming years, with 95,000 new commercial pilots required across the continent by 2034.

AeroProfessional added that the pilot skills shortage may further increase due to the growing rates of staff poaching, operational disruptions and an ever-rising industry demand in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

At the core of the crisis are training costs, type ratings, pay and conditions, with the report suggesting that some of the fundamental changes required to solve the ongoing crisis are still unlikely to be put into practice.

The firm claimed that legacy and flag carriers are least likely to suffer from the skills shortage since they offer the best packages in terms of salaries and benefits, and administer their own cadet schemes. This has set an example for low-cost carriers, regional and corporate aviation suppliers, which have recently started to offer similar benefits.

The study found that other factors contributing to the industry’s skills shortage include mandatory retirement and the growing EU migration trend, with 64% of pilots saying that working outside the continent is a good idea.

According to AeroProfessional, airlines should focus on cost-effective training, innovative cadet schemes, enhanced inclusion and diversity, and strategic recruitment planning in a bid to become more competitive in the job market.

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