Aerospace manufacturer Boeing sees an “unprecedented” need for about 1 million new commercial pilots and other aviation personnel over the next two decades.
The Chicago-based company says the demand is being driven by the needs of the global economy and the delivery of new jetliners. Boeing’s forecast lines up with recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predictions that passenger traffic on U.S. airlines will grow from 745.5 million in 2014 to 1.15 billion by 2034.
Of the 1 million new workers expected to enter the aviation labor force by the early 2030s, about 498,000 will be commercial airline pilots and 556,000 will be technicians needed to maintain the global air fleet, according to Boeing, which employs nearly 170,000 people worldwide.
“The urgent demand for competent aviation personnel is a global issue that is here now and is very real,” Sherry Carbary, vice president of Boeing Flight Services, said in a company statement.
Boeing’s pilot forecast, released in 2013, was 8.3% higher than a year earlier.
The Asia Pacific region is projected to have the largest growth, with more than 192,000 new pilots required through 2032, according to Boeing. About 40% of the total will be needed in China. Elsewhere, Europe will require almost 100,000 additional pilots over the next 20 years, North America will need 85,700 and Latin America will need nearly 49,000. There will be a need for 40,000 new pilots in the Middle East, 16,500 in Africa and more than 15,000 in Russia and neighboring nations.
In order to attract a new generation to aviation careers, the industry must shift “from paper and chalkboard-based learning to incorporate tablets, eBooks, gaming technology and three-dimensional models,” Carbary said.
In a forecast issued in March 2014, the FAA projected that airline passenger traffic among U.S. carriers will increase by 2.8 percent per year from 2014 through 2034, representing a total increase of 76% over the 20-year period.
During the same period, air cargo traffic is expected to more than double, at an average growth rate of 4.1%, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation agency.
“The aviation forecast is strong and we predict the use of our airports and airplanes will only rise,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.