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Post-Pandemic Pilot Shortage COVID-19 Effects on Pilot Hiring, Retirements, and Flight Training

Airlines are hiring pilots ahead of a post-pandemic pilot shortage. Mandatory retirements and COVID-related early retirements are combining to drive demand for qualified pilots. Pilots training and building their hours today will be competitively positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.

Aviation Industry Facing Post-Pandemic Pilot Shortage

Airline Pilot Hiring in 2022

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Regional and major airlines are hiring and facing a shortage of qualified pilots. Many regionals are offering tuition reimbursement competitive bonus packages, while major airlines like Frontier and Sun Country have formed partnerships with ATP allowing graduates to go straight from ATP at 1,500 hours straight to a Airbus or Boeing flight deck.

In the last 12 months, airlines hired ATP graduates, which is expected to accelerate throughout 2022. As reported by CEOs at United and American have said they currently face a pilot shortage, and Future and Active Pilot Advisors stated that major airlines plan to hire a record 9,000+ pilots in 2022. For aspiring pilots, this means they will see accelerated career progression and, at ATP, the opportunity to take advantage of the best airline financial assistance offers.

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Expert Analysis on Pilot Hiring Post-COVID-19

Kit Darby, an industry expert and retired airline captain specializing in forecasting pilot hiring, projects that significant future annual pilot retirements will drive demand for pilots.

80,000 Airline Pilots are Retiring

Retirements averaging 4,100 new pilots per year will outpace the current capabilities of the flight training industry.

Twice as Many New Pilots Needed

The return to normal growth will require twice as many new pilots.

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Long-Term Pilot Career Outlook Post-Pandemic Pilot Shortage

The factors that caused the pilot shortage remain in effect, and the early retirements taken during the pandemic are increasing demand.

North America Will Need 208,000 Pilots

According to Boeing's Pilot and Technician Outlook, North America will need 208,000 pilots and an "adequate qualified pilot supply remains an important consideration as a large contingent of the workforce approaches mandatory retirement age." Further, Boeing states, "aspiring aviators who begin their training today will be well positioned to take advantage of new job opportunities as the industry recovers."

80,000 Airline Pilots Are Retiring

Future annual pilot retirements will average 4,100 new pilots per year and be greatest over the next five years.

Yearly Retirements at Major Airlines

Post-Pandemic Pilot Shortage

A shortage of 12,000 pilots is expected by 2023 due to COVID-related early retirements and mandatory retirements.

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Aspiring Airline Pilots Are Training Today at ATP Seniority is Everything

Airlines are hiring, and not starting your career now means you will lose seniority to the aspiring pilots training today. Pilots choose their aircraft, flying schedules, location, and vacation schedules based on their seniority, which is also directly correlated to their pay. Your spot on the seniority list will affect you for the rest of your career. Delaying your career by one or two years could mean losing $400,000 to $800,000 in career earnings when you are a major airline captain.

By starting your Airline Career Pilot Program now, you will be able to take advantage of the following and get to the airlines first.

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Airlines are Hiring ATP Graduates

Here are a few of the most recent pilots hired by airlines. You can view all of ATP's airline placements every year, going back to 2001.

Airline Pilot Requirements

You can become an airline pilot. Here is everything you need to know about becoming a commercial pilot starting with no previous experience.

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Airline Career Pilot Program graduates are being hired by the airlines

“ATP laid the foundation for success in my aviation career… from zero experience to my dream major airline in just 5½ years.”

Jordan Lascomb

Airline Career Pilot Program Graduate

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