Airline Academy Training

Aviation industry recovery and pilot demand

  • Article by Dave Coward - VP & General Manager, L3Harris Airline Academy
  • Published
  • Duration 3 minute read

There’s no denying it’s been a rough year and a half for the aviation industry and it’s been particularly tough on pilots, both current and aspiring. As the pandemic spread across the globe borders were closed, flights were cancelled, aircraft were grounded and pilots were furloughed. All areas of the aviation industry felt the effects, including pilot training.

Understandably those already in training or looking to start out on their pilot careers lost confidence in an industry on its knees, asking themselves; ‘why would I train now if there’s no job at the end of it?’ A fair question, especially when you factor in the cost of training. However there are signs that suggest things are starting to look up.

Long-term demand for newly qualified aviation personnel remains strong, as 612,000 new pilots, 626,000 new maintenance technicians and 886,000 new cabin crew members are needed to fly and maintain the global commercial fleet over the next 20 years.

Source: Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook 2021-2040 Boeing: Commercial Pilot, Civil Pilot, Aviation Technician & Cabin Crew Demand Outlook.

This is good news for future aviators looking to launch careers on the flight deck. OK, this is a medium to long-term forecast, but there have been signs to suggest confidence for the shorter-term outlook too:

  • Closer to home, the L3Harris Airline Academy was delighted to welcome Ryanair to its London Training Centre in September to speak with our cadets. Following the visit 15 L3Harris graduates started Type Rating training and we’ve now planned a session at our European Airline Academy in Ponte de Sor Portugal.
  • In the US regional airlines have returned to our Flight Academy in Sanford Florida, visiting campus to speak with cadets and CFIs about pilot pathways and career opportunities. In fact, five of our recent graduates just joined PSA Airlines to begin their pilot careers!

These are just some of the good news stories out there. Yes, there is still some way to go to get back to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, but the green shoots of recovery are starting to grow. As global vaccination levels rise and government-imposed travel restrictions are lifted traveller numbers will continue to increase, driving demand for more flights, more aircraft and more pilots – some industry experts are even predicting the next pilot shortage (Source).

So, if an aspiring pilot were to ask me the question; ‘is now a good time to start my pilot training?’ I would answer with some confidence, ‘yes’. Our UK and EASA Integrated ATPL training takes approximately 72 weeks to complete and our FAA programmes approximately 52 weeks. That puts us into 2023 when industry consensus forecasts commercial flying will be back at pre-pandemic levels. That means when you graduate the pilot job market will be much stronger and the industry back into growth.

Learn more about our UKCAA Integrated ATPL pilot training course

Learn more about our EASA Integrated ATPL pilot training course

What's next?

If you are feeling inspired by this article then we have several others that could be of interest to you. Excited for the next step? Feel free to look at our guides on ‘How to become a pilot’ as well as our FAQs.

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