AeroGuard Flight Training Center recently hosted a webinar with Flight Path Vectors, an organization dedicated to helping pilots achieve a successful career in aviation. Together, they brought forth an expert panel of guest speakers to guide current and future pilots through the impacts COVID-19 has made on the aviation industry and what they can expect in the years to come.
Over the last 50 years, the aviation industry has experienced many worldwide catastrophes, including the oil crisis, the Gulf crisis, the Asian crisis, 9/11, SARS outbreak and the financial crisis of 2008. However, as shown in the webinar, the average growth line for pilot career availability continued and even accelerated after each crisis, and has averaged 6.2% growth each year for the past 10 years. Although the current travel reduction due to COVID-19 is more severe than these prior cases, the long-term trend is not expected to change.
“Yes, (9/11) was a big hit to the country and the trust that the flying public had in the airlines and security but, in 2006, the recovery level was robust,” said Al Timpauer, a professional pilot and speaker with Flight Path Vectors. “The airlines started hiring new markets. New travel and the confidence in the market in the airline industry was high and the recovery was fairly brisk. 2008 happened, you see 2009 and 2010; again it was a very, very strong return for travel and profitability for the airlines and again we want that profitability because that means jobs for pilots.”
While furloughs and tough times are in today’s headlines, the outlook on the aviation industry and its future remains strong. Since the beginning of this year, Boeing and Airbus have experienced aircraft order cancellations due to the virus but these have only represented 5% of filled orders. There remain over 12,020 planes on backorder that will need to be staffed with pilots.
“So, (approximately) 12,000 airplanes times 10 pilots to fly each one, that’s about 120,000 pilots. It’s not just about reducing costs by having more efficient aircraft, they also need to grow, so those orders will be to backfill plus add a little bit,” said Eric Noel, Director of Pilot Development at AeroGuard.
On top of these new aircraft orders, there will also be 19,059 expected retirements in the next five years across U.S. airlines due to the mandated FAA retirement age, further increasing the need for pilots. This issue is likely to have only be increased in its impact and timing by the recent early retirements offered by the airlines.
The webinar closed with an understanding that the time is now for pilots to get on the front end of the upcoming wave when airlines will be required to hire to pre-COVID levels. Looking at TSA data on the U.S passenger recovery, as well as using international markets for comparison, like China where domestic travel has already returned to 85% of pre-COVID level, it’s easy to see the career demand as travel starts to return to normal.
“This right now is the time for you to build your resume, make yourself marketable and do the best you can right now because that (hiring) wave is coming fairly soon,” said Phil Green, a speaker with Flight Path Vectors.
At this time, airlines are taking extensive measures to make sure passengers and crew members are traveling safely during COVID-19. AeroGuard is implementing the same techniques, taking action to ensure its facilities are safe to train and work at. Social distancing, wearing masks, sanitizing aircraft after each use and temperature checks before each flight are mandatory.
“This is a great time to get into the industry. If you got into the flight training world within the past year, you’re on track to move forward and then reap the benefits of your timing,” said Micah Orsinger, a speaker with Flight Path Vectors.
AeroGuard’s Pilot Pathway Program provides students with a clear path to employment as a commercial airline pilot in as little as two years.
Those interested in learning more about beginning an aviation career and enrolling at AeroGuard can visit flyaeroguard.com and connect with an enrollment advisor for additional information.
Flight Path Vectors is a group of professional pilot mentors, committed to mentoring aspiring pilots entering the field of aviation. Flight Path Vectors works with diverse groups to offer equal opportunity to different ethnic, gender and lower-economic status backgrounds to be successful as professional pilots. Flight Path Vectors is committed to offering its time, expertise and guidance to aspiring professional pilots without charge or fees.
The full version of the webinar can be found on AeroGuard’s YouTube Channel at https://flyaeroguard.com/yt.
AeroGuard Flight Training Center is one of the country’s most successful flight schools, offering accelerated commercial pilot training to candidates from all over the world. With a commitment to safety and student success, AeroGuard has a proven track record of training airline-ready pilots, with over one million flight hours of training experience and graduating over 6,000 cadets.