Saturday, July 7, 2012

My "expert" opinion for the impending pilot shortage

It's a huge bet on the "pilot shortage". I think there will be a "pilots market" soon. As far as a shortage? Well it depends on how one defines shortage. Will there be two pilots on every flight deck of every US Airliner? Yes. Will the airlines be running thin on pilots with few spares? Probably. Will airlines go out of business because there aren't enough pilots? Doubtful.
Here's my opinion of the impending "pilot shortage". This opinion is all based on my Bachelors of Arts in Photojournalism AND Sociology, 10 years working in IT, almost 5 years at an airline and the fact that I recently stayed the night in a Holiday Inn Express.

I think the pool of ATP qualified applicants is going to be incredibly small. Heck my old flight school used to ONLY teach US Citizens. There are so few US Citizens signing up that they now teach a lot of foreigners. The cost (financial and physical) of attaining the experience to meet the ATP requirements are huge. The ROI for the $50K is going to be small for years. Consider that myself on year 5 pay (at a reputable airline) will make maybe $45K this year (including pay, per diem and such). Next year when I hit year 6 pay I might make $47-48K. Not a small sum...but not a lot either.

First year pay at my airline is around $26K. It's a horrible bet of $50K to make $26K eh? But of course I'm in this for the long term. Long term projections have me making $65-$70K AT MY AIRLINE when I upgrade to Captain (I'm assuming in the next 2 years...but that's an assumption).

When I go to a Major airline I'll make around $90K after the first year. First year pay at most Majors is really small. Second year pay is a huge jump.

This is a fairly wishy washy post....but there are no real experts in predicting the future of the airline industry. One "Expert" has been preaching the death of the 50 seat RJ for 10+ years. Yet there are hundreds of the flying (soon the be less, but there will always be a market for a 50 seater).  There are lots of opinions, facts, and known truths that "experts" and arm chair...errr..flight deck pilots like myself formulate.

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