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CAE Forecasts Need for 260,000 New Pilots through 2029

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s toll on the current civil aviation market, CAE forecasts a global demand for 260,000 new pilots over the next decade. Releasing the 2020-2029 CAE Pilot Demand Outlook this morning, the international training specialist said its analysis shows that the active pilot population is expected to return to 2019 levels in 2022. But retirements and attrition are expected to become a challenge as air travel recovers and will create an “acute demand” with a short-term need for some 27,000 new pilots as of late 2021, growing to 260,000 over a 10-year period.

In business aviation alone, CAE is predicting 41,000 new pilots will be needed over the next decade to make up for anticipated retirements and attrition and another 4,000 to accommodate growth, for a total of 45,000 new professional business aviation pilots over the forecast period. The airlines, meanwhile, need 126,000 new pilots to offset attrition and retirements and then 93,000 to accommodate growth.

CAE acknowledged that the sudden drop in air travel demand hindered the industry’s growth trajectory, spurring thousands of furloughs. But it wondered whether this might play into stronger pilot needs in the future. “Many of them have pivoted to other professions and might not want to resume their pilot careers,” CAE said, stressing that fundamental factors driving pilot demand before the pandemic remain in place.