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Middle East will face pilot shortfall by 2023

August 23, 2022
aviation

As air travel continues to recover after the removal of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Middle East will soon follow North America in facing pilot shortages, Oliver Wyman said

The Middle East will soon face a pilot shortage after North America as air travel continues to recover after COVID-19 travel restrictions, according to consultants Oliver Wyman.

According to the strategy advisors, the region will face a shortfall of 3,000 pilots by 2023 and 18,000 by 2032.

Andre Martins, partner and head of transportation, India, Middle East and North Africa (IMEA) said the shortage was driven by a projected sharp increase in air travel demand over the next few years, new players entering the market and big tourism developments happening in the region.

The report showed that the spike in demand for air travel coincides with flat then declining supply of pilots in the region, due to a combination of lay-offs during the COVID-19 pandemic, a falling number of newly-certified pilots, and retirements eventually outstripping new pilots.

It said the regional shortage of 3,000 pilots by 2023 could happen if no accelerated mitigation actions are taken.

North America will face the worst pilot shortage, 30,000 pilots by 2032, while Europe has a surplus of pilots but is likely to face shortages by the middle of the decade, Oliver Wyman said.

Asia also has a pilot surplus but is expected to see a shortage by the end of the decade, while Latin America is not expected to face a shortage, and Africa will see its shortage of pilots reduce as the availability of pilots grows.

Dubai-based Emirates Airline announced late last year that it is to recruit 6,000 operational staff and said earlier this month that it is actively recruiting first officers.

Data from ForwardKeys and the World Travel Market (WTM) revealed that the Middle East and Africa will see the strongest post-COVID air travel recovery in the third quarter of 2022.

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