'Urgent need' for pilots amid Gulf aviation boom

Boeing report says nearly 100,000 pilots and technicians required over next 20 years in region
Airline pilot, cockpit
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 23 Nov 2013 10:40 AM

Nearly 100,000 new pilots and technicians will be needed to support the Middle East's expanding demand for new airplane deliveries over the next two decades, according to Boeing.

The US plane maker has made the forecast in its regional projection of the 2013 Pilot and Technician Outlook - a respected industry report on aviation personnel. 

With the aviation industry in the Middle East growing faster than the world average, the Boeing outlook predicts the region will require 40,000 pilots and 53,100 technicians over the next 20 years.

"We're seeing a significant, urgent need for competent aviation personnel in the Middle East and across the globe due to the growth in airline fleets," said Sherry Carbary, vice president of Boeing Flight Services.

"We are working hard with airlines, regulators, independent flight schools and other industry groups to make training accessible, affordable and efficient so that anyone in the Middle East who qualifies can become a pilot or maintenance technician in this high-tech industry."

For the Middle East region an average of 2,000 new pilots and more than 2,600 new airline technicians will be needed each year to meet the expected demand.

The 2013 global outlook projects significant increases in pilot demand - compared to previous forecasts - in all regions except Europe, which declined slightly over last year's outlook.

Overall, the demand is driven by steadily increasing airplane deliveries. In the Middle East, more than 60 percent of the pilot demand will be driven by increased deliveries of twin-aisle - or widebody - airplanes.

In terms of demand for technicians, Boeing said the introduction of more efficient and smarter airplanes will require fewer mechanics over time, as aging aircraft are retired from service.

It added that new airplane technologies featuring more advanced components are likely to lead in some areas to lower maintenance requirements and corresponding lower technician demand.

"This is an issue that has the attention of the entire aviation industry," said Carbary. "To attract a new generation of pilots and technicians, we need to train them in new ways. We need to make sure aviation is as great a career option for the world's youth as it is for us."

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