Those reading the papers and watching the news have noticed an increase in frequency of articles regarding Pilot hiring outlook. Especially with an emphasis on articles predicting an Airline Pilot Shortage. For those interested in a rational synopsis of it should read the following article, which in this author’s perspective is very good.
The following is a letter sent to the Wall Street Journal Editor about a recent article from AudriesAircraftAnalysis.
I am writing in regards to your recent article published last week on the reported Aircraft Pilot Shortage. As an author of AudriesAircraftAnalysis.com a source of independent and unbiased aviation research I was concerned about the accuracy of that article.
You may not be aware but a Pilot Shortage is hotly debated amongst the aviation community. I was disappointed with the lack of meaningful data cited by the sources supporting this Shortage. As can be found on our resource and many others like it, the amount of Commercial Pilot licenses issued by the US in 2010 was well over 8000 and it has remained fairly consistent over the last decade. Also, the projected domestic demand of pilots based on fleet orders and mandatory retirements (a need of about 2-4000 a year throughout the coming hiring wave), is not even close to the amount of pilots we put out in the US per year. I do concede that a shortage internationally is possible but maintain very unlikely domestically.
Right now there are two groups of people who support this “Shortage” mentality. Current pilots who have hoped and will always hope for a shift in pilot Supply and Demand in order to reverse the slide in pay cuts and quality of life for aviators.
The second group is probably most pleased with your article, which includes any business who depends upon an unnaturally high level of training or trained pilots. This would include flight schools, interview prep company’s, and smaller Regional’s who depend upon an excess supply of pilots to keep their labor costs low. For them, the shortage mentality once again allows them to promise “the moon” to up and coming new pilots. Subsequently, those new pilots basing their “expectations” upon those shortage projections, move forward to accumulate unprecedented amounts of debt (220,000$ at a place like Embry Riddle) with the assurance from these organizations that they will see a return on that investment. Unfortunately, after time they are left only to find once again the “mirage” of a pilot shortage to slowly disappear in return for huge student loans and a career that never produces a return on that investment.
Right now there are almost 3000 pilots from American and United still on the furlough list, and Comair’s hundreds of Pilots when they went bankrupt this year. Delta is currently overstaffed and probably will not see hiring until 2014. The only mainline airline projected to do any hiring in 2013 is possibly US Airways whose hiring might disappear if a merger happens with AA.
Besides a potential US Air job the only Pilot jobs in the US that are doing any significant hiring are those where the pilots qualify for government food stamps. Tragically, there will always be Jet Airline Pilots willing to fly on food stamps as long as there is the “mirage” of an impending pilot shortage promising them better days.