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Travel Weekly recently reported that due to early retirement incentives offered in 2020, the supply of pilots could no longer meet demand. So, what does that mean for 2022? 

As more people return to the skies for travel, the demand for pilots has increased. Commercial airlines predict they’ll have pre-pandemic flight schedules in 2022 and beyond, which means there is a need for more pilots.

Why It’s Worth Finding Your Wings

If you’ve been thinking about attending FLT Academy’s aviation school in Utah, now is the time. Whether you want to continue on to receive a commercial license or enjoy flying privately, here is what you can expect when it comes to future employment opportunities.

What to Expect in the Aviation Industry

Throughout history, there have been many cycles in the aviation industry; whether due to a strike, war, or a global pandemic, the need for pilots has and always will ebb and flow. Additionally, in 2007, a mandatory retirement age was established (65), which opened up new positions for incoming aviators. These cycles are natural, but it’s important to remember that the landscape now isn’t the same one a hopeful pilot will face in a couple of years after graduating from a training program.

What Causes Pilot Shortages?

Research indicates that with fewer pilots retiring from the military and entering the commercial airline industry, there are fewer candidates ready to take the yoke in aviation. Plus, the retirement mandate forced out a number of senior pilots who typically had the first choice for flights. Without new recruits coming up through aviation schools such as FLT Academy in Utah, there’s no one to fill those vacated seats. 

World War II

You might think that a war would negatively affect the aviation industry when it comes to pilots available to work; in fact, the opposite is true. During times of war, men and women receive a crash course in several fields. They get some of the best flight training available thanks to the military, so male and female pilots are ready not just for active duty, but for a future in aviation. When their military service concludes, veterans often turn to private or commercial flying as a way to continue doing something they love as a new career or a hobby.

So, as “baby boomers” (children born as a result of veterans returning home after WWII and the Vietnam war) age out of the industry, we see results in the form of a pilot shortage today.

Training Costs

As expected, the cost of training can be a financial burden for many who dream of a career as a pilot. That’s why at FLT Academy we’re proud to offer options to help make our aviation school in Utah more affordable.

Airlines to Count On

According to Flying Magazine, some major airlines didn’t lay off any pilots during 2020. Despite the halt to air travel, FedEx, Southwest Airlines, and United refrained from implementing Covid-19 related layoffs. Since many airlines were already facing a shortage of pilots prior to 2019, they weren’t as heavily impacted when flights were reduced due to the pandemic. 

Will There Be Pilot Jobs Available?

Consulting firm Oliver Wyman recently produced findings that the pilot shortage in the wake of 2020 could equate to a need to fill anywhere between 34,000 and 50,000 jobs globally by 2025. Bad for commercial airlines, but good for future pilots!

Glassdoor, a site that compiles job postings and potential salaries, lists the following airlines as the top employers for pilots:

  • JetBlue Airlines – $62,000 to 287,000 annual salary
  • Delta Airlines – $66,000 to 257,000 annual salary
  • Southwest Airlines – $53,000 to $200,000 annual salary
  • American Airlines – $134,559 (average) annual salary
  • SkyWest Airlines – $21,000 to $95,000 annual salary

Salaries range widely based on pilot seniority in commercial aviation. A first-year pilot acting as First Officer (co-pilot) to a Captain (pilot) will typically earn less than their captain counterpart. Different airlines have different ranks, but you’ll almost always find a Captain and First Officer on every flight. Salaries in commercial aviation increase based on time with the company, which aircraft in the fleet you fly, and how long you have worked in your pilot role.

With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a 5% growth in the job market for pilots, it’s safe to say aviation is one of the fastest-growing industries in need of new recruits.

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