Boeing Hikes 20-Year Pilot-Hiring Forecast 8.3% on Asia

Boeing Co., the world’s largest aerospace manufacturer, predicts global airlines will need to hire 498,000 new pilots to keep pace with aircraft orders over the next 20 years, 8.3 percent more than it forecast a year ago.

The hiring will be greatest among Asian carriers, which will need to recruit 192,300 pilots through 2032, Chicago-based Boeing said in a study released today. That’s 3.6 percent more than the planemaker predicted in its 2012 forecast. The global commercial airline fleet will grow by about 35,000 planes over the next two decades, according to the report.

Pilot training among the region’s rapidly growing carriers has been in the spotlight as U.S. crash investigators examine the manual flying skills and teamwork of pilots on an Asiana Airlines Inc. jet that crashed in San Francisco in July. Asia has the greatest demand for flight personnel, Sherry Carbary, vice president of Boeing Flight Services, said today in Miami.

“The urgent need for competent aviation personnel is a global issue, and while Asia Pacific is feeling it acutely right now, it is a global issue that must be addressed,” Carbary said at an event alongside Florida Governor Rick Scott. “We have to figure out how we are going to find this talent and how are we going to train it.”

Flight Training

The report comes as Boeing opened a training center for pilots of its 787 Dreamliner at Miami’s international airport. The company expects about 5,000 students a year to pass through the center, Boeing’s largest, for flight maintenance and cabin safety training, Carbary said. The transfer of the training center from the Seattle area will result in the loss of about 34 union jobs, said Bill Dugovich, spokesman for the 26,000-member Professional Aerospace Union, known as SPEEA.

Boeing predicts airlines will hire 556,000 maintenance technicians over the next two decades, 7.5 percent fewer than a year ago, as carriers retire aging aircraft in favor of new models that require fewer overhauls.

Scott, a pilot and former health-care executive who was elected in 2010, praised the Boeing move as evidence that his efforts to lure more business to the state are working. Florida’s unemployment rate of 7.1 percent is below the national rate of 7.4 percent and down from a peak of more than 11 percent in 2009-2010.

Today’s announcement “is part of making Miami the global world headquarters for things,” Scott said. “Florida is back.”

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