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Grounded: How the Shortage of Pilots Affects Stakeholders Far and Wide

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Despite the earth’s ever-rising population, where more and more have the means and desire to fly, the number of active pilots is lower now than it was in 1990. 

The statistic spells trouble for much of the aerospace industry. The availability of active pilots directly determines how many airplanes can be in the sky, and without sufficient personnel, prices for consumers will rise and the industry can stall.

The pilot shortage has been a global problem affecting the aviation industry for years, partially because it is a uniquely stressful and challenging job. Airline pilots, on average, fly 75 hours a month and work 150 hours on top of that, doing various other duties. Other reason for the shortage include:

  • Retirement — The aging workforce is one of the most critical factors, with older pilots less likely to fly as often or as long as they used to, and retirement mandatory at age 65 because of working conditions and the importance of mental clarity.
  • Regulations — New regulations have increased training time and costs while at the same time reducing the number of potential trainees entering the field, meaning there are less people who meet pre-qualification requirements than ever before. 
  • COVID-19 – The pandemic caused a dramatic drop in pilots and pilots in training because of the lowered demand for air travel, leading many to seek a career elsewhere. A survey of those who left their jobs at this time discovered many employees didn’t feel valued by the organization and their managers, while some took it a step further, indicating they felt discriminated against. 

The airlines aren’t the only ones affected by the pilot shortage. The aerospace industry is also impacted because it’s dependent on pilots to transport and deliver goods, with delays ultimately impacting the bottom line. Any business that relies on shipping products is likely to experience some degree of pain due to the shortage.

One potential option to address the issue is increase the number of pilots trained through programs like Air Force ROTC by offering scholarships and incentivizing airlines or other carriers to hire pilots from these programs. But while that could provide some relief, the focus also needs to be put on retaining existing trained pilots by addressing the primary reasons they quit, principally that they are overworked and underappreciated.

TAP Financial Partners works with companies in the aerospace industry, with staffing an issue many of them are facing. Our specific experience, and access to capital, help them overcome organizational challenges and maximize opportunities.  

Interested in learning more about how we can position your company in the aerospace industry? Contact us

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