Airlines could be grounded by pilot shortage after hundreds retire or change jobs
Martin Chalk, acting secretary general of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa), confirmed that the aviation industry also fears a shortage of pilots.
One problem was that many had not had enough time to fly commercial planes since the start of the pandemic to comply with legal requirements and be “resilient” enough to return to work without retraining.
Separately, hundreds of them are said to have taken early retirement, while many others have changed careers due to a lack of work during the virus crisis. Others have switched to part-time work in what could become a permanent move for many.
Mr Chalk said: “I was only in my mid-50s, but I took early retirement last summer because a voluntary departure plan was being offered.
“There will be other people who have been put on leave or fired and who have resumed a previous career or have chosen a new career – so an unknown number of us will no longer fly.
“We have a large number of jobless pilots but, as things pick up and airlines look to recruit, there is a concern that we could move on from a situation where we had an oversupply of pilots. to a situation where in fact enough have left the profession that we end up with a shortfall. We feel that next summer there could be a shortage of pilots.
Addressing the number of pilots who will need additional training and flight time before they can once again carry commercial passengers, Mr Chalk said: Work is accelerating as we hope it the crew is actually there to fly. “
Balpa is asking for government funding for “resilience training” for pilots stranded during the pandemic, on the basis that airline finances have already been devastated by the pandemic.
Separately, ministers are funding “skills training camps” for people wishing to become heavy truck drivers amid a shortage of skilled workers in the transport industry.
An analysis by consulting firm Oliver Wyman, written earlier this year, said: “The more important question is not whether a pilot shortage will reappear, but when it will occur and what will be the gap between the ‘Offer and demand.
“Based on a modest recovery scenario, we believe that a global pilot shortage will emerge in some regions no later than 2023 and most likely before. However, with a faster recovery and larger supply shocks, this could be felt as early as the end of this year. .
“In terms of magnitude, in our most likely scenarios there is a global gap of 34,000 pilots by 2025. That could reach 50,000 in the most extreme scenarios. Ultimately, the impact of holidays , retirements and no-shows will create very real challenges, even for some of the larger carriers. “