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A growing commercial fleet will require an increased supply of pilots, technicians and crews. Boeing’s latest market outlook forecasts that the civil aviation industry will need nearly 2.5 million new aviation personnel between now and 2038.

New Market Outlook Predicts Ever-Increasing Aviation Tech Shortage

According to the forecast, maintenance and engineering will see a 4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next two decades.

Printed headline: 2%


Two-percent: That is the percentage increase in anticipated global technician demand over last year’s 20-year Boeing forecast. The manufacturing giant formally released its latest Pilot & Technician Outlook at the Paris Air Show in June. It estimates that 769,000 new maintenance technicians will be required globally by 2038. The forecast includes technical support required for commercial aviation as well as the business and civil helicopter sectors.

The report projects the greatest growth for the Asia-Pacific region, estimated at 3.9% GDP. The region accounts for 40% of future airplane demand and 35% of the worldwide technician need. Not far behind, the U.S. will be responsible for a quarter of global airplane deliveries and new technician needs.

Boeing estimates that airlines will purchase 44,040 new aircraft over the next 20 years. Of that number, 40% will replace aging aircraft while the remainder will fulfill traffic growth.

According to the forecast, maintenance and engineering will see a 4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next two decades. Maintenance services are expected to account for $2.4 trillion in services demand—that is 26% of all anticipated commercial aviation service market opportunities.

“Notwithstanding some recent moderation in passenger and cargo traffic growth, all indications are pointing to our industry sustaining its unprecedented streak of profitable expansion,” said Boeing Commercial Marketing Vice President Randy Tinseth in a statement. “The healthy market fundamentals will fuel a doubling of the commercial fleet over the next two decades and a massive ecosystem of life-cycle solutions to maintain and support it.”

A similar outlook produced by Airbus anticipates a doubling of the world’s commercial aircraft fleet by 2037 and a need for 630,000 new technicians by 2037—up from the company’s 2017-36 estimate of 550,000. The seemingly lower number is at least partially attributable to the scope of the study, which did not include metrics for rotor or business aviation sectors in its analysis.

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