ERJ instrument panel

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 2021

  • Frontier Logo
  • United Airlines Logo
  • American Airlines Logo
  • FedEx Logo
  • UPS Logo
  • Spirit Airlines Logo
  • CommutAir Logo
  • Envoy Logo
  • Republic Airways Logo
  • Skywest Airlines Logo
  • PSA Airlines Logo
  • Air Wisconsin Logo
  • Endeavor Air Logo
  • GoJet Logo
  • Horizon Air Logo

Regional and major airlines are accelerating pilot hiring to match passenger demand ahead of an expected shortage of qualified pilots. Regional airlines like CommutAir are hiring ATP graduates with no HR interview required (ATP-exclusive benefit) and providing a direct path to United Airlines through the Aviate program.

Major airlines have announced hiring plans for 2021, including American Airlines hiring 300 pilots by the year-end and Spirit hiring 400 pilots. To stay ahead of the pilot shortage, Frontier Airlines has partnered with ATP to offer the Frontier Direct Program, which pilots are taking advantage of in 2021.

Corporate and cargo operators isolated from fluctuations in passenger demand hired throughout the pandemic and continue to do so in 2021. UPS and FedEx are expected to hire nearly 800 pilots this year.

Become an Airline Pilot Airline Career Pilot Program

Flight Training Info »

Learn to Become an Airline Pilot with ATP Flight School

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.

Request More Information »

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.

Get Yours Today! FREE Airline Pilot Career Guide

Download Now »

Two American Eagle Pilots Walking to ERJ

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.

Join the Next Generation of Airline Pilots Training Today at ATP

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.

The steps required to become a commercial pilot »

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

Request More Information »