Pilots inside the cockpit aboard a Qatar Airways Ltd. Airbus A350 XWB aircraft at the Singapore Airshow. (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

Time to Retrain? Asia Will Need 240,000 Pilots in the Next 20 Years

(Bloomberg) -- Asia-Pacific airlines will need to add the greatest number of pilots, technicians and cabin crew over the next two decades as economic growth spurs travel demand.

The region will require 240,000 more commercial-aircraft pilots, 242,000 technicians and 317,000 cabin crew from 2018 to 2037, making up more than one-third of the global total, according to a forecast by Boeing Co. China will need half of these new personnel.

Time to Retrain? Asia Will Need 240,000 Pilots in the Next 20 Years

Passenger numbers in the Asia-Pacific region are projected to double by 2036 as stronger economies and the emergence of low-cost carriers make it affordable for more people to fly, according to the International Air Transport Association. To cope with the increased demand, airlines and planemakers including Airbus SE and Boeing have set up pilot training centers as more aircraft are added.

“Strong demand for pilots in the region continues,” Keith Cooper, vice president of training and professional services for Boeing Global Services, said in a statement. “We expect that this will continue for the next several years.”

Time to Retrain? Asia Will Need 240,000 Pilots in the Next 20 Years

While the required number of pilots and technicians declined slightly from Boeing’s last 20-year outlook, that’s not an indication of waning travel demand. A trend of younger pilots entering the industry long before the mandatory retirement age will result in slower replacements, while advancements in aircraft development mean fewer maintenance hours are needed, Boeing said.

About 16,930 new planes valued at $2.67 trillion are estimated to be delivered in the Asia-Pacific region over the next two decades, according to a separate Boeing projection. Worldwide, 42,730 aircraft worth $6.35 trillion will be delivered in the same period.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.