The entire Aviation industry is on hold right now. How is the pandemic impacting your future career as a pilot? Should you postpone your flight training? A shock this scale has only one thing guaranteed; brighter days are ahead. Aviation is cyclical and always bounces back stronger than before. Slowly but surely we are all getting to terms with reality, and getting a grip on the virus itself. Let’s look into it together from the perspective of the aviation industry and the road to recovery.
US Airline Pilot Job Outlook, credit KitDarby.com
This may seem counterintuitive, but NOW is probably the BEST time to start flight training. Education is about preparing for the future. In particular it has a lot to do with the job market projection. The average time spent in training and time building is 2 years. One year for Ab Initio training (Private to Commercial) then One year of practical tiem building as a CFI, convalidation, or other first tier pilot jobs, read more about that here. Then we should look at the job market 2 years out. There is no question that we were all in agreement about the pilot shortage pre-COVID. That demand comes from 2 drivers, industry growth and pilot retirement. The pilot job crisis caused by the pandemic started in April 2020. Most projection say it will take 2 years for the airline industry to fully recover. So, by April 2022, things will go back to where they were in April 2020. Under this assumption, if the world was short of 10,000 pilots in April 2020 it will be back to full-employment in April 2022 with all the furloughed pilots returning to work.
There is a temporary furlough of aviators causing a surplus in the short-term. However, pilot retirements have ACCELERATED! The demand will be even greater because thousands of pilots will be retiring during those 2 years. American Airlines alone had 700 captains take early retriment. A new shortage is expected unless we train enough new pilots and get them ready for airline jobs during these 2 years. Remember, it takes 2-3 years for a starter to complete training and build enough hours to be qualified for airline jobs. If we review numbers of US Domestic travel we can see that flights have remained stable and are starting to pick up again. International routes are starting to open up again too. KLM, the oldest airline in the world, stated that they would fly 6900 passenger flights in July and 13,100 in August. These numbers are low compared to the 21,000 flights the airline flew every month in the summer of 2019. The silver lining is that things are starting to pick up again.
In time, things will be back to where they were, under the ‘new normal’. This is a reason why it is actually a great time to start your flight training for those who want to become a professional pilot.
Given the situation, many flight schools are offering promotions and discounts. It is a smart move to take advantage of all the different deals that are being offered. Like starting groundschool from the safety and comfort of your home. Examiners are widely available now which speeds up the process. Read more about opportunities like that in our article about flight training deals. If you are thinking about flight training and pursuing the career of professional pilot, now is probably the best time to start.
What is your opinion on this? Let us know, comment below!