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Civil aviation needs more than 600,000 pilots by 2036

© Belga
The Secretary General for the OACI says that civil aviation worldwide must act quickly to recruit and retain the best talent in all roles.
© Belga

The growth of air transport will necessitate the recruitment of more than 600,000 airline pilots in the world by 2036. On Tuesday, the Organization for International Civil Aviation (“OACI”), observed that the ageing global population poses a challenge in this regard.

The General Secretary of the OACI, Fang Liu, stated before the Montreal Council for International Relations (also known as “CORIM”), the number of commercial flights and passengers doubles every 15 years, but the available workforce in this sector “is itself contracting.”

She identified, “the inevitable ageing population, the decreased birth rate and other factors”, such as “the attraction of other high-technology sectors for future potential talent.”

Ms Liu warned that civil aviation should therefore “do more to both attract and retain qualified workers, which it will need during the decades to come.”

A point which is all the more relevant since the OACI, a United Nations agency, considers that by 2036 we will need “at least 620,000 pilots” to run the commercial aeroplanes by then in circulation in the world, from 100 or more locations. She stressed, “Moreover 80% of these future aviators will be new pilots, who are themselves not yet flying.”

The Secretary General for the OACI mentioned, “Moreover it is the same story for the air traffic controllers, maintenance staff and other technicians of the future.”

She said that the growth in air transport, may in particular be explained by the rapid expansion of tourism, but also online trade, for which 90% of deliveries are now carried out by aeroplane, compared to only 16% in 2010.

She indicated that some 4.1 billion individuals travel by aeroplane each year, and one-third of goods are traded worldwide by air.

Besides the workforce challenges, civil aviation must swiftly tackle the problem of airport congestion. Fang Liu stated, “At least 24 international airports will be saturated, and incapable of supporting an increase in traffic, within barely two years.”

The Brussels Times