MIAMI, FL – On Friday, representatives for Boeing (NYSE:BA) warned that the airline industry will need almost half a million new commercial pilots by 2032 to keep up with demand forecasts. According to Boeing’s estimates, airlines will have to hire almost 25,000 pilots per year over the next twenty years; they will also need more than 500,000 maintenance technicians in the same period.
The industry outlook was released during the launch of the new 787 (Dreamliner) flight training center at its campus in Miami. The most pronounced shortage will be in the Asia Pacific region, where 192,300 pilots and 215,300 technicians will be needed, according to Boeing’s forecast. According to industry analysts, another factor is the retirement of thousands of pilots following the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) introduction of new rules requiring new training and more rest in between flights.
The FAA announced the new rules last month requiring co-pilots to receive 1,500 hours of flight time for their certification, up from 250 hours. In 2014, the minimum rest period before a pilot’s flight duty will increase from eight hours to 10 and must include the ability to get eight hours of sleep in a row.
Sherry Carbary, Vice President of Boeing Flight Services said ‘the urgent demand for qualified aviation personnel is a global issue that is here now and is real and the key to closing the pilot and technician gap in our industry is enhancing our training with the latest, cutting-edge technologies to attract and retain young people.’
Meanwhile, the company was awarded three defense contracts worth a combined $ 1.78 billion on Friday. The contracts include supply of rotary wing blades for U.S. Army helicopters, a modification to a previously awarded contract for the new AH-64 Apache Block III, and joint contract with Boeing’s partner Textron (NYSE: TXT) Bell Helicopter to build the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft.