Glover-Faure said the calculations lead to a forecasted global need for about 30,000 pilots, with Asia
and China needing some 10,000; North America 6,300
and Europe 4,000.
CAE’s Leontidis similarly sees the largest opportunity in helping airlines fill that pilot gap.
“On the cadet/ab initio side, airlines like Ryanair,
JetBlue and Indigo provide opportunities to create
new pilots. And there’s a bunch of airlines for whom
we provided their pilot training on simulators, such as
AirAsia. After a couple of years, they are now comfortable to let go of the training side. For many airlines, the
ownership stake is just about security. We will continue
to sell simulators, but there is a much bigger prize in
the delivery of training,” he said.
“There’s a lot of aircraft backlog in the system and a
lot of aircraft orders. But a lot of pilots will also retire
in the next 10 years. In the past, there was enough
availability of qualified people so that airlines didn’t
necessarily need to think about cadet programs. But
that has changed, particularly in Asia, where there is
very little infrastructure. So in China and South East
Asia, pilots often come from the ex-pat communities
or ab initio programs. But ex-pat pilots are expensive.
That bodes well for the training business. If you are
short of pilots and you are short of infrastructure, then
the shortage of pilots becomes a vicious cycle.
“We started this training business 15 or 16 years
ago; now it’s the biggest part of our civil business, so it’s
definitely a growth opportunity.”
TRU director regulatory affairs Mark Dransfield
noted that 50% of all new Airbus and Boeing aircraft
are going to Asia-Pacific, putting special pressure on
pilot demand in that region. “There’s also pressure in
the Middle East, where airlines are having to rely less
on ex-pat pilots. At the regionals, there is greater turn-
over. We need to double the numbers of pilots because
they will retire as well as being needed for all the new
airplanes,” he said.
It’s also fueling a demand for simulators. “There has
been significant growth in the last two or three years,
not just double-digit but in some cases, triple digit
growth,” Dransfield said. “It will continue through
2018 and 2019. We have a [simulator] backlog for
2018, which is booked, so we are looking at deliveries
in 2019. The size of the market is increasing and we are
increasing our share of it.
“We have the capacity to continue increasing
production and one of the positives of being part of
a global conglomerate is the support for additional
investments necessary to increase production capacity,”
While the high demand for training and for new pilots is
a global need, there are some regional differences in how
that is playing out.
Leontidis noted that North America’s need for
more pilots stems from retirement, while Asia’s is
about growth. “South America is a little different. The
economy has not been doing well in Brazil. The market
is not as robust, but the good news is that we have been
there for17 years. A lot of airlines in the region—
including GOL and LATAM—have been our customers
for training centers for many years,” he said. CAE has
two pilot training centers in Brazil, one in Chile and
another in Peru.
TRU’s Karam also noted different regional geo-
is working with
female airline pilots