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Boeing Says Asia-Pacific Region Needs 185,600 Pilots

Boeing Co., the world’s second-biggest planemaker, said about 185,600 new pilots will be needed in the Asia-Pacific region within the next two decades as economic growth encourages more people to travel by air.

China will lead growth in the region, with 71,300 pilots in demand through 2030, Boeing said in a statement today. The region will also need an additional 243,500 technicians in the period, with 99,400 in China, it said.

“Asia is where the growth is,” Bob Bellitto, global sales director for Boeing’s flight services, said at a briefing in Singapore. “We can sell new airplanes, but if we don’t have enough people to maintain them or people to fly them, they’re going to sit on the ground.”

Boeing forecasts demand for pilots and technicians will be the greatest in Asia-Pacific markets as the region will get 12,030 planes of the 34,000 to be delivered in the period. Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s SilkAir unit and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. are among carriers that are expanding their fleet.

The global airline industry may post net income of $3 billion in 2012, of which $2 billion is forecast for Asia-Pacific carriers, according to the International Air Transport Association. Travel demand in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to rise 3.9 percent this year, compared with 2.3 percent in Europe, it said in June.

Europe will get 7,760 planes through 2030, while North America will receive 7,290, Boeing said.

Airbus SAS is the world’s largest maker of airplanes.

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