Boeing forecasts need for 2.1 million new airline personnel by 2036
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July 26, 2017

The forecast by Boeing’s new Global Services affiliate is just the latest in the aerospace world saying airline industries are facing critical labour shortages in the next decades if they don’t ramp up talent development now.

Boeing projects the world’s commercial aviation industry will require at least 2.1 million new operational personnel pilots, technicians and cabin crew—by 2036.

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As detailed in its 2017 Pilot and Technician Outlook released July 25, Boeing estimates the global airline industry by 2036 will need 637,000 new commercial airline pilots, 648,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians and 839,000 new cabin crew members. Airlines will have to hire approximately 106,200 personnel annually to meet this demand.

The report was produced by the newly launched Boeing Global Services, a business unit formed from customer services groups of Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes and Defense, Space & Security units.

Overall, Boeing’s total 20-year personnel forecast differs marginally (up 0.7%) from its forecast last year. Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region will require the greatest number of new personnel in all categories (817,000 total, including 308,000 cabin crew; 256,000 technicians; and 253,000 pilots). Twenty-year personnel estimates for Middle Eastern carriers grew 4.2% since last year’s forecast, the largest of the regions, as demand for new pilots increased 8.6% to 63,000, new cabin crew personnel estimates increased 4.3% to 96,000, and new technician personnel estimates remained the same at 66,000.

Forecast 20-year demand for pilots is up 3.2% from 2016. “Regional markets that have relied heavily on recruiting pilots from outside their home locations are increasingly seeking to recruit, train and develop locally sourced pilots,” Boeing said in its analysis. “New market opportunities are creating an increased demand for qualified, skilled and experienced pilots.”

For technicians, Boeing’s new forecast shows a 4.6% year-over-year (YOY) decrease, primarily driven, Boeing said, by “the reduction in maintenance hours required on the 737 MAX newer generation aeroplanes will help moderate the demand somewhat by allowing longer intervals between maintenance checks, fewer non-routine tasks, and improved aeroplane reliability advances in aeroplane technology will drive an increased need for technicians skilled in avionics, composites, and digital troubleshooting.”

Cabin crews estimates increased 3.1% YOY, “as airlines continue to expand flight routes, grow their fleets, and transition to aeroplanes with higher seat capacity, many regional markets have also updated regulations to require a greater number of cabin crew per aircraft,” Boeing said.

Boeing 20-Year Pilot, Technician and Cabin Crew Outlook 2017

Boeing’s 20-year forecast (2017-2036) for commercial airline operational personnel hiring: pilots, maintenance technicians and cabin crew.


Region New Pilots by 2036 New Technicians by 2036 New Cabin Crew by 2036 Total operational personnel by 2036
Asia-Pacific 253,000 256,000 308,000 817,000
Europe 106,000 111,000 173,000 390,000
North America 117,000 118,000 154,000 389,000
Latin America 52,000 49,000 52,000 153,000
Middle East 63,000 66,000 96,000 225,000
Africa 24,000 23,000 28,000 75,000
Russia / CIS 22,000 25,000 28,000 75,000
Total 637,000 648,000 839,000 2,124,


Source: Boeing 2017 Pilot and Technician Outlook.

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