The Ex­perts Say…

Ex­perts from the lead­ing Ap­proved Train­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tions give their view of the job mar­ket

Pilot - - GO COMMERCIAL! | INTRODUCTI­ON - By: Philip White­man

We asked se­nior rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the ATOS how good are the em­ploy­ment prospects in gen­eral for com­mer­cial pi­lots. “At present em­ploy­ment prospects are fan­tas­tic,” says Mark J Casey, CEO and Head of train­ing at At­lantic Flight Train­ing Acad­emy, based in Cork. “We are get­ting weekly queries from air­lines re­gard­ing stu­dent num­bers ap­proach­ing com­ple­tion.” There is wide agree­ment on this: “We are find­ing grad­u­ates get em­ploy­ment eas­ily, some­times with mul­ti­ple job of­fers si­mul­ta­ne­ously,” says Rod Wren, CEO Wings Al­liance and Di­rec­tor at Bris­tol Ground­school.

Ian Cooper, Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer of new Glouces­ter-based ATO Sky­borne adds a per­sonal per­spec­tive: “I have worked in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try for twenty years and, as of now, em­ploy­ment has never been so buoy­ant. De­mand has never been stronger for highly-skilled in­ter­na­tional air­line pi­lots and, to put this into per­spec­tive, Air­bus and Boe­ing are both an­tic­i­pat­ing the re­quire­ment of 617,000 new pi­lots by 2035.”

Colin Ry­don, VP of Train­ing, Safety and Com­pli­ance at L3 Com­mer­cial Train­ing So­lu­tions, con­curs: “There is cur­rently huge in­ter­na­tional growth in the com­mer­cial aero­space sec­tor which di­rectly means there is a re­ally strong de­mand for new pi­lots. To put that into con­text, there will be ap­prox­i­mately 9,000 new com­mer­cial air­craft join­ing the global fleet over the

next five years to meet pas­sen­ger num­bers−and ob­vi­ously those planes need pi­lots to fly them. There­fore for this pe­riod, we es­ti­mate that around 23,000 new pi­lots a year will be re­quired to fly th­ese new air­craft and a fur­ther 7,000 a year will be needed to serve the pi­lot at­tri­tion with re­tire­ments. Be­cause of this favourable job mar­ket and our re­la­tion­ship with air­line cus­tomers we are see­ing many of our trained pi­lots re­ceive job of­fers less than six months af­ter com­plet­ing their cour­ses.”

Out­stand­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties

Which re­gions, in­dus­try sec­tors, com­pa­nies and/or air­lines of­fer the best op­por­tu­ni­ties for a job? “Right now, if you can fog a mir­ror, you can get a job in avi­a­tion,” jokes Richard J Gen­til, Pres­i­dent of Naples Air Cen­ter. “The air­lines are des­per­ate and the acute short­age is only go­ing to get worse. Asia−mostly China−is look­ing at a quar­ter of a mil­lion pi­lots needed, and they are go­ing to raise the pay for pi­lots glob­ally due to their needs and the money they are of­fer­ing for trained cap­tains. You will see of­fers for B737 cap­tains in China in the $500,000 a year range, tax free. And the key words here are ‘tax free’!”

“At the mo­ment, there are some fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­ni­ties in Asia, par­tic­u­larly in China,” ob­serves Ian Cooper of Sky­borne. “Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent ar­ti­cle in the Fi­nan­cial Times, the Chi­nese avi­a­tion mar­ket grew by thir­teen per cent in 2017 and Chi­nese air­lines are ex­pected to pur­chase 7,000 air­craft over the next two decades, which will lead to sig­nif­i­cant de­mand for qual­i­fied com­mer­cial pi­lots.”

Colin Ry­don of L3 sees growth as “very much a global trend and we are see­ing strong de­mand for new pi­lots from our air­line cus­tomers in Europe, Amer­ica and the Mid­dle East as well as Asia. Growth within re­gional or low-cost car­ri­ers con­tin­ues apace and this is where most new pi­lots se­cure their first jobs. This also means that op­por­tu­ni­ties for pi­lots to move quickly through into roles of com­mand are bet­ter than ever.”

Rod Wren of Wings Al­liance/ BSG is spe­cific about the air­lines in­volved: “Ryanair con­tin­ues to dom­i­nate, plan­ning to re­cruit 1,000 pi­lots this year. Other low-cost car­ri­ers are also ma­jor re­cruiters – easy­jet, Wizz, Jet2 and Nor­we­gian. Flybe have a steady re­quire­ment and other re­gional car­ri­ers, even if they have no growth plans, have job op­por­tu­ni­ties when they re­place staff mov­ing on to other car­ri­ers.

“There are great op­por­tu­ni­ties in East­ern and South­ern Europe, with Wizz and Ryanair par­tic­u­larly tar­get­ing cer­tain bases.”

Changes in train­ing Has the em­pha­sis on the type of train­ing changed in re­cent years? Yes, says Mark J Casey, “air­lines are very fo­cused on a com­pe­tency based ap­proach to train­ing with a fo­cused em­pha­sis on the nine EASA ev­i­dence-based train­ing core com­pe­ten­cies. AFTA has em­bed­ded all th­ese right from the com­mence­ment of train­ing. A pi­lot’s NTS (non tech­ni­cal skills) are of para­mount im­por­tance to

ABOVE: such is the de­mand, ATOS like L3T are open­ing new fa­cil­i­ties all the timeLEFT: headed by ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als, Sky­borne is a new name in the field

BE­LOW: ATOS are re-equip­ping with glass-cock­pit air­craft

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