China to lead global pilot demand

China will need 71,000 new pilots over the next 20 years
China will need 71,000 new pilots over the next 20 years

China will need 71,000 new pilots over the next 20 years, 15% of the world’s total demand.

This is the latest prediction from Boeing, which also states that the Asia Pacific region will account for 40% of total global demand for new pilots, driven by the expansion of commercial airline fleets not only in China, but also in Southeast Asia and India.

Following the recent huge aircraft purchase orders placed by the likes of Lion Air (which ordered 230 Boeing 737s in February 2012) and AirAsia (200 Airbus A320s in June 2011), Southeast Asia is expected to need 51,500 new pilots between now and 2031. Southwest Asia, including India, is forecast to need 31,000 new pilots, led by major aircraft orders placed by carriers like IndiGo (180 A320s in January 2011).

“This great need for aviation personnel is a global issue, but it’s hitting the Asia Pacific region particularly hard,” said Bob Bellitto, Global Sales Director for Boeing Flight Services. “Some airlines are already experiencing delays and operational interruptions because they don’t have enough qualified pilots. Surging economies in the region are driving travel demand. Airlines and training providers need new and more engaging ways to fill the pipeline of pilots and technicians for the future.”

Outside China, other countries in Northeast Asia are expected to need 18,800 pilots, while the Oceania region will likely need 12,900 pilots.

The findings follow the Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook, released last month, which predicted that the aviation industry would need a total of 460,000 new commercial airline pilots and 601,000 new maintenance technicians by 2031.

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