Looking for work? Airlines will need 617,000 pilots over next 20 years

A growing demand for pilots
A pilot walks through the Phoenix airport. Boeing predicts the world’s airlines will need 617,000 pilots, 679,000 technicians and 814,000 crew members in the next 20 years.
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

If you’re looking for a new career, Boeing suggests checking out the airline industry.

Based on the number of plane orders and airline expansion plans in the works, the aerospace giant predicted this week that the industry will need to hire 617,000 new commercial pilots, 679,000 maintenance technicians and 814,000 new crew members by 2035.

That means the worldwide industry must hire an average of about 31,000 pilots, 35,000 technicians and 40,000 flight attendants each year over the next 20 years.

“Airlines across the globe are expanding their fleets and flight schedules to satisfy demand generated by global economic expansion,” Boeing said in its annual “Pilot and Technician Outlook” report. 


The biggest growth in the industry will be in Asia, where air traffic is growing by 6% a year, fueled by the surge of middle-class travelers. The growth means that Asia will need about 40% of all the new pilots, technicians and flight crew members in the next 20 years, the report said. The growing popularity of low-cost carriers around the world also has triggered the demand for planes and their crews.

North America will need about 17% of the new pilots and technicians and 21% of new crew members, the report said.

Boeing spokesman Tom Kim said the company operates several pilot training and development programs to help meet future pilot demand. He said the purpose of the outlook report is to “hopefully encourage people to pursue careers in those fields.”



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