Three recent news articles in Japan Times, The Guardian and Reuters detail ongoing challenges driven by pilot shortages at international airlines. Interestingly, the three narratives provide different supporting perspectives on this increasingly global challenge. In the current economic cycle, this global shortage clearly impacts the world’s airlines, large and small. As this phenomenon begins to limit airline growth, new and innovative solutions are emerging. Unchallenged, this shortage could limit airlines from maximizing benefits of the current economic cycle and possibly stifle airline expansion plans.
Japan Times on Pilot Shortages
An editorial in the Japan Times titled “Train More Commercial Pilots” makes clear the challenges facing airlines across the globe. For domestic Japan flying, the country raised the mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots to 67. And, the situation for the adjoining region’s airlines is not dissimilar. As the Japan Times editorial states, “more than 600,000 pilots will be needed by 2036 to fly commercial airliners, but 80 percent of them have yet to be trained, according to the ICAO” – the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The Guardian on Pilot Shortages
Similar concerns recently compelled the Australian government to modify visa regulations. In a bid to attract sorely needed pilots to staff the country’s airliners, foreign pilots are again headed “down under.” This Guardian news report details the relaxing of work visas of experienced commercial pilots to aid with Australia’s shortages. These changes do not come without controversy, particularly among labor unions and opposition leaders.
Reuters on Pilot Shortages
A recent article in Reuters provides a global view of this recurring theme. As this phenomenon spreads throughout the globe, airline leaders are developing more innovative solutions. Paid training programmes, “ab initio” training and comprehensive “flow through” agreements between affiliated carriers are becoming more commonplace. These evolving approaches are occurring against the backdrop of increasing airline pilot salaries and are gradually changing airline economics.