COVID-19's Impact on Airline Pilot Demand

As the Talent Acquisition Manager for Hillsboro Aero Academy, I can attest to the current competitive market. Pre-pandemic, the industry was booming with pilot jobs in every sector and the shortage was undeniable. Being in the aviation industry for well over a decade, I have seen its ups and downs, but COVID-19 has been, by far, the most unusual and unexpected challenge that we have faced as aviators. Many individuals question whether an investment in pilot classes to obtain their license is worth the risk at this time.

With mandatory retirements, voluntary furloughs, and the anticipated demand for air travel post COVID, there will be a dramatic shift in pilot demand with another pilot shortage looming, possibly even larger than the one we experienced in the past few years.

There are many indications that beginning your commercial pilot license training will leave you well positioned to take advantage of the aviation industry’s recovery. According to the newly published Boeing: Pilot and Technician Outlook 2020-2039, the industry outlook is more promising than ever. This outlook projects that 763,000 pilots are needed worldwide over the next 20 years with 569,000 in North America.

Sure, we all wonder when the recovery will begin, but what we are seeing from industry experts and aviation analysts is that we are now on the climb out. Some airlines are quietly working to get ahead of the upcoming curve and are beginning to get furloughed pilots back on the line. Some of our own flight instructors whose airline training classes were canceled due to COVID are now getting those classes rescheduled for January and February. Hillsboro Aero Academy has also ramped up its hiring and has 12 new Certified Flight Instructors starting this month who are graduates of our program.

What does this mean for you as a future student pilot? Now is the time to get started on your aviation training courses. If you have ever had the dream of becoming a pilot, it is time to take to the skies and get ready for the future demand. Join us for our next flight training informational webinar to learn more about our training courses and the career path for a professional pilot.

Already pursuing your aviation career as a pilot? Stay competitive, earn additional ratings, and set yourself apart from other applicants by obtaining additional skills. The goal is not to just know them, but to live by them. The fundamentals of instruction and the ability to teach are the building blocks of being the best flight instructor you can be, and this is what hiring managers look for. Get the CFII and invest in the MEI. These will help you set yourself apart from a CFI only. You will have the opportunity to move with a student from private pilot training to instrument training while building actual IMC time and accruing multi engine experience.

Our admissions team is also available to help answer questions so you can book a phone meeting with us at a time that works for you. Don’t miss this opportunity to get into the aviation industry when it is poised for growth.

Pilot and Technician Outlook 2020-2039, Boeing, 2020,