Aviation sector is projected to double in the upcoming 15 years, but the workforce is declining. The ICAO Secretary General addressed the issue in November 27, 2017 speech, urging to do “a much better job of both attracting and retaining the skilled workers and managers it requires”.

Aviation industry is projected to require over 2 million new workers by the year 2036. According to 2017 Pilot & Technical outlook by Boeing, the demand for pilots alone will increase to 637,000 between 2017 and 2036, with Asia Pacific contributing to 40% of the demand growth. Similarly, Airbus projects the pilot demand in Asia Pacific to reach 170,000 by 2036 ─ in contrast to current numbers of 65,000.

“At the same time as our sector is growing, its workforce is also shrinking due to the inevitable demographics of aging populations, lowering birth rates, and other attrition factors”, pointed out Secretary General of ICAO Dr. Fang Liu during the 2017 ICAO Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Global Summit on November 27, 2017.

“The world over, similar dynamics have forced us all to recognize that aviation has to do a much better job of both attracting and retaining the skilled workers and managers it requires”, Liu stated in her speech, warning that “promoting excitement and passion for aviation” is not enough anymore.

She distinguished three key aviation professions – pilots, air traffic controllers and aircraft technicians ─ highlighting the importance of attracting and sustaining specialist in these positions. “Our preliminary numbers have revealed that 620,000 pilots will be needed by 2036, to fly the world’s 100-seat-and-larger aircraft,” said Liu. “But even more important than this figure is the fact that no less than 80% of these future aviators will be new pilots not yet flying today”.