Since the middle of the 20th century, the two leading aircraft manufacturers have already delivered more than 21 000 of airplanes worldwide. With aviation industry expanding in every region, airlines are constantly increasing their aircraft demand. With more than 8000 orders to be fulfilled by the aircraft manufacturers in the near future, which aircraft types will be the most popular on the global pilot market?

Both young and experienced pilots face the same issue – which type rating one should obtain in order to best meet the market demand thus gaining a higher salary and being granted a longer contract. Today the ‘classical’ Airbus A320 remains one of the most popular aircraft type with approx. 4900 operating units. With an average fleet age and the number of passengers to increase with every year, many air companies are securing their future business development by ordering new aircraft and designing strategies regarding new deliveries in advance.

‘For example, Qatar Airways have ordered 80 Airbus A350s that are under development to be exploited no earlier than 2014. By introducing new airplanes, manufacturers will naturally trigger some alterations on the pilot market. The acquisition of Boeing 787s, Airbus A350s and A380s will require the airlines to re-qualify and move some of the flight crews to the new aircraft types thus increasing the demand for pilots operating the classical airplanes even more,’ comments the CEO of Skaiste Knyzaite.

While in 20 years’ time aviation experts unanimously predict global pilot shortage, some airlines are already affected by it today. Due to the concerns facing the pilot shortage in upcoming years, China’s Spring Airlines has halved its fleet expectations by 2015. Qatar Airways have admitted that they may delay their deliveries, should they fail to find enough number of pilots who would qualify for the job. Along with the still-to-come Airbus A350 aircraft, the Qatari company plans to operate 30 Boeing 787, 50 Airbus A350 and 10 Airbus A380.

But despite the next generation aircraft deliveries, Airbus A320 family and Boeing 737 are and will remain the most popular aircraft types in the world in the foreseeable future, followed by Boeing 777 and Airbus 330. However, the regional jet market is likely to face a 20% decline by 2020, maintaining the trend at least till 2030, according to Boeing.

On the other hand, as it is highly possible that the most experienced pilots will soon specialize in operating the newer aircraft only, this might be a perfect opportunity for the smaller aircraft pilots to change their workplace, should they obtain the necessary type ratings.

‘Whilst gradually changing the fleet, the airlines will be naturally forced to expand their cooperation with training organizations, recruitment agencies and private pilots in terms of the type rating projects. And with the acceleration of the global pilot migration, the recruitment agencies will play an even more important role in the process with every year. Especially those few agencies like, which not only lead the post-graduated pilots to their first actual commercial flight, but also have special type rating programs. Thanks to them our pilots are provided with a necessary type rating, followed by a firm contract with an airline. And should an air company to cease the operations or to change its fleet structure, we will find a new employer for the pilot. Such programs help pilots with both moderate and considerable experience to adapt to the constantly changing market demands,’ concluded Skaiste Knyzaite.

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