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Global Pilot Shortage

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The aviation industry is facing a severe pilot shortage, with experts predicting a gap of 34,000 to 50,000 pilots by 2025, potentially reaching 80,000 by the end of the decade.

This shortage is driving up travel costs and posing significant challenges for airlines worldwide.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the impact is notable, with Australian airlines, such as Jetstar, actively recruiting New Zealand pilots to address the shortfall. The demand for air travel remains high, but ticket prices have not returned to pre-Covid levels due to rising fuel costs, influenced by the war in Ukraine, and a reduced workforce.

During the pandemic, many experienced pilots retired early, exacerbating the shortage. Geoffrey Thomas, a leading aviation expert, highlighted the loss of 46 million jobs in aviation and tourism globally due to Covid-19, making it difficult to regain these workers.

Airlines are now racing to recruit new pilots. Jetstar is conducting its largest pilot recruitment drive in New Zealand in 15 years, achieving over 20% growth in pilots in the past year. In partnership with Qantas, Jetstar offers streamlined programs to increase flight hours and bring more recruits into the industry. Senior pilot Ian Griggs praised the quality of pilots coming through cadet programs, noting their excellent training and readiness for commercial flying.

Air New Zealand recently announced a partnership with Ansett Aviation Training and AeroGuard Flight Training Centre to deliver a customized Cadetship program. This Mangōpare Air New Zealand Pilot Cadetship, starting in September 2024, will train cadets in Phoenix, Arizona, and Dubai, addressing New Zealand’s “pathway problem” in pilot training.

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