Boeing Sees Need for 30,850 New Pilots a Year as Travel Soars

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Pilots sit in the cockpit of a Boeing 747-8 passenger aircraft.

Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Global airlines will need to hire 30,850 pilots a year for the next two decades to keep pace with new planes on order and surging demand for air travel, according to a forecast by Boeing Co.

Carriers will need to recruit and train about 617,000 pilots to fly the 39,620 aircraft, valued at $5.9 trillion, that the U.S. planemaker expects to be added to the global fleet through 2035. The Asia-Pacific region will account for about 40 percent of total new hires as China eclipses North American as the largest travel market.

U.S. carriers will need to accelerate recruiting to replace pilots who are retiring, comply with stricter federal limits on duty hours and staff new routes to Cuba and Latin America, said Sherry Carbary, vice president of Boeing Flight Services.

The Chicago-based company predicts a need for 112,000 new pilots in North America over the next 20 years. Boeing sees 104,000 aviators required for Europe as travel continues to grow between countries on the continent, Carbary said.

The Middle East will need 58,000 pilots over the two decades, about 2,000 fewer than Boeing forecast a year ago, as flying within the region shifts to smaller models from very large aircraft like Airbus’s A380 superjumbo.

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