If becoming a professional pilot and turning it into a lifelong career is what you’re looking to do, now is probably the best time to do so. The demand for pilots is strong, and is only going to increase as the air transportation industry continues to grow. Here are some of the main reasons why we think now is the time to get into the industry.
Demand for professional pilots
Many of you have probably heard and read countless times about the “Pilot Shortage” stories. While in a sense this is true, it’s not that people are simply not training to become pilots, there are many other contributing factors in the past that have created such a shortage. There are plenty of pilots out there, In fact, according to a study done the ALPA (Airline Pilots Association) in 2016, the annual amount of Airline Transport pilot certificates issues remains strong at 25,500 per year. So what makes now a good time to get into the industry, and what is all the hype about?
Flow through programs and retirements
In the past, freshly minted commercial pilots often struggled to get into regional airlines. Even if they got their ticket in, the quality of life for them was poor due to wages, commuting issues and general job security. Many decided to give up and pursue other career paths such as real estate or banking. Today there are many regional airlines operating in the United States all with a strong and stable reputation. As the aviation industry grows, many of these regional carriers are obtaining new contracts from mainline carriers such as Delta and United, and they are in desperate need for pilots to fill the seats of their aircraft.
The amount of pilots set to retire in the next 10 years is also reaching its peak, creating a prime opportunity for potential pilots to jump on the bandwagon. In the past many pilots were stuck at regional carriers waiting for a phone call from a mainline. Between 2012 and 2030, an astounding 33,222 pilots are expected to retire. Note these are only from legacy or “mainline carriers such as Alaska, Delta, American, FedEx and UPS. There are many other air carriers both locally and internationally that will have thousands of mandatory retirements due. This creates a prime opportunity for growth, for both current and future pilots looking to get into the industry, as the transition for pilots to go from a regional to a mainline carrier will be much easier.
Many regional carriers in the United States now have partnerships with mainline carriers, for “flow” programs. This means you will generally sit as a first officer at a regional carrier for 2-3 years, then become a captain for another 1-2, before being given an interview with one of the mainline carriers. Endeavor Air, Envoy and Trans State all currently offer guaranteed interviews with the mainline carriers if you go through their programs.
The pay situation at regionals as well as many mainline carriers has improved drastically, which has also made the industry a lot more attractive to new potential pilots. It wasn’t uncommon for a regional first officer to earn between $12-$15 per hour a few years back. Now most carriers are starting their pay around $35 an hour, with captains earning between $60-$65 per hour on their first year. Many regional carriers also now offer huge sign on bonuses, some up to $30,000 for new hire pilots.
Opportunities not only for the “Airline Pilot”
When most people think of going into the industry, they are looking at going the “Airline Route”. It is important to note however, that this boom in demand for pilots, has spread across all aspects of the industry. Cargo, Corporate and flight education are all in dire need as well for pilots. This gives many new pilots many options when looking for new potential jobs in the market. Many schools as well are in desperate need for flight instructors, as the demand for flight training continues to soar.
Ever wanted to go abroad and fly for a carrier in a foreign country? Emirates, Qatar and many Middle Eastern carriers are hiring many U.S based pilots to fill their seats. Pay at some of these carriers start around $200,000 annually with the potential to go much higher. China is also famous for hiring many foreign pilots as the demand for air travel in the region is growing at a phenomenal rate. On top of your base pay, housing and living expenses are usually covered in your contract.
These are just some of the very few reasons why going into the industry and making a career out of it now, is one of the best decisions you can make. Pay increases, job security as well as the endless opportunities that will be available to you, make this one of the best careers to choose from. Inflight Pilot training can help you get started on achieving your lifelong goals and achievements. Many of our past students and instructors have gone on to work for Airlines as well as corporate jobs in the industry. Give us a call today to see how we can help you become a pilot!