Boeing raises pilot shortage concerns after gangbuster week of orderson July 13, 2012 @ 5:45 am (Updated: 11:24 am - 7/13/12 )
An industry forecast that nearly half a million new airline pilots will be needed worldwide over the next 20 years as airlines expand their fleets has raised safety concerns that airlines will hire lower caliber pilots as they struggle to fill slots.
Boeing, one of the world's largest makers of commercial jetliners, forecasts about 460,000 new pilots will be needed worldwide between now and 2031 as global economies expand and airlines take deliveries of tens of thousands of new commercial jetliners. The forecast includes 69,000 new pilots in the North America, mostly in the U.S. The greatest growth will be in the Asia-Pacific region, where an estimated 185,600 new pilots will be needed.
Likewise, Boeing predicts 601,000 new aircraft maintenance technicians will be needed over the same period, with greatest demand - 243,500 technicians - in the Asia-Pacific region. An estimated 92,500 new technicians will North America.
The rising global demand for airline pilots has raised concern among industry and government officials that there will be a global and a domestic pilot shortage.
Boeing announced Thursday, a United Airlines order for 150 aircrafts. Boeing said it took total orders and commitments over the past week for 396 airplanes, valued at around $37 billion. That is more than double Airbus' performance of $16.9 billion orders and commitments for a total of 115 aircraft.
This year's airshow took place at a time when the global economy is showing signs of slowing down and governments around the world are cutting back costs on military spending as they grapple with high debt levels. The combination of a faltering economy and lower government spending is a difficult combination for the aviation industry as air travel tracks global economic growth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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