Today’s Problem With Finding Pilots

Today’s Problem With Finding Pilots

October 19, 2019

In the world of aviation, there is a pilot shortage occurring across all aspects from commercial and regional airlines to private jets.

One reason is that every year more and more pilots are retiring from commercial airlines, and at the moment, a large number of them are coming up to retirement age. Another reason is that airlines are buying more aircraft at a faster rate than they are retiring aircraft. This fleet growth and the vast openings these pilot retirements are causing have produced major demand for pilots.

The first place airlines look for new pilots is private aviation; the first place private jet pilots, especially younger pilots, go to look for jobs is the airlines. Pilots are leaving private aviation at a rate that is causing major problems to owners, but there is also not enough supply of pilots to fill the gaps that the airlines have.

Due to this, one of the first aspects to consider in your aircraft search is how you plan on crewing your new jet. Crew availability in the country you live in will affect the type of models you consider, the operator you use, and the overall financial requirement during your ownership. Some operators have enough pilots on staff for certain models that only one or two full-time crew are necessary for your aircraft and they can supply freelance crew when needed. However, if your operator does not have an ample pilot base for the model you are considering, you could be required to hire 3 or 4 full-time pilots. If your aircraft type is less common in your region, hiring multiple pilots will most likely be the case which can be expensive as it is highly likely you will have to provide initial type rating training for some or all of your crew members.

It is helpful to look with your broker at aircraft that have a wider base of freelance pilots if hiring multiple pilots on a full-time basis poses a potential problem. Models such as the Citation CJ series, the Citation XLS series, the Embraer Legacy 600 and the Bombardier Challenger series usually have decent freelance pools in Europe. Different geographic regions will have their own availabilities.

Talk to several different operators to understand their different policies on crewing. Your broker should know which aircraft are experiencing crewing issues at the moment. Jets are purchased to be flown and used and you must resolve your crewing needs before you can fly.