This week Bombardier Aerospace issued its 20-year Commercial aircraft forecast, which clearly shows that regional aircraft will be almost as popular as larger aircraft with 100-149 seat capacity. According to the forecast the world will see up to 5900 new aircraft with 20-99 seat capacity by 2031. The figures indicate that whilst the demand for smaller aircraft will decline, the number of middle size aircraft may increase by over 170%, elevating the demand for regional aircraft operating pilots.

In 2011 ATR alone received orders for almost 160 aircraft with 79 additional options. For the past six months alone Canadian Bombardier has secured 43 orders with 57 options. Currently the Brazilian regional aircraft manufacturer Embraer has as much as 240 regional aircraft backlog.

“The latest development of the air travel industry has significantly improved the popularity for small and middle-sized aircraft absolutely in every world region. With continuing fleet expansions and optimizations the demand for regional aircraft pilots has been noticeably rising during recent years. The trend is sure to maintain in the future”, commented the CEO of Skaiste Knyzaite.

The rising demand for regional aircraft pilots (along with the global pilot shortage) naturally influences the salary and benefit options for the pilots, which however fluctuates depending on the region, aircraft type and position. In the CIS Fokker 50 First Officer (FO) may earn approx. $61000/year, while North American ATR 42 FO about $50000/year. Due to the lack of experienced pilots in the market, Asia and the Middle East are likely to offer better salary opportunities, especially for the Pilots in Command (PIC). For instance, Embraer 170/190 and Bombardier CRJ 200 PICs may be offered with $124000 and $126000 annual wages respectfully. This usually is also being supplemented by accommodation compensation and other benefits, especially for the experienced foreign pilots.

“Though the market is increasing its demand for the pilots, it doesn’t lower the requirements. For example, Embraer 170/190 FOs are required by some carriers to have at least 500 hours on a certain type. However, realizing the market situation, some airlines make personal contributions in order to ensure themselves with qualified aviation personnel. For example, some carriers may employ smaller aircraft pilots, such as Embraer 145, and immediately proceed with the type rating training for the larger Embraer 190. Such programs are practiced by many operators and the only issue for the pilots – how not to miss the opportunity. In such cases we always urge the pilots to share and constantly update their CVs in specialized aviation job databases, since such online portals are the primary HR resourcing tool for many carriers around the world”, commented Skaiste Knyzaite.

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