[photopress:air_pilot_training.jpg,full,alignright]The warning by IATA that the sands of time are running out on the pilot shortage problem is especially important for China in that it has the fastest expanding aviation market and, potentially, the biggest future problem from a severe shortage of pilots.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the apex body of all leading airlines of the world, has warned airlines of a severe pilot shortage unless a concerted effort is made to change training and qualification practices to produce out more pilots every year.
According to IATA’s new estimates the global airline industry will need 17,000 new pilots annually due to expected industry growth and retirements.
Increasing retirement age of pilots to 65 may help but it can’t be the only solution according IATA.
Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO, said, ‘It’s time to ring the warning bell. We must re-think pilot training and qualification to further improve safety and increase training capacity.’
He told the FAA International Safety Forum that industry is concerned because ‘There are no global standards for training concepts or regulation. Pilot training has not changed in 60 years – we are still ticking boxes with an emphasis on flight hours.’
IATA supports the competency-based approach of multi-crew pilot licensing (MPL) training programs. Unlike traditional pilot training, MPL focuses from the beginning on training for multi-pilot cockpit working conditions. It also makes better use of simulator technology.
Europe was among the first regions to adopt MPL and Australia and China are moving ahead with implementation. In China, IATA is working with the government to develop the syllabus and incorporate MPL into national regulation.
But even with this effort there will be shortages. Which means that in the ever-contentious relationships between flight crew and management the pilots will start to get the upper hand. Which, inevitably, means increases in salaries and thus in air fares.