The increasing demand for air transportation services and the growing number of carriers worldwide means that the commercial aviation business is only approaching the stage of maturity. It is predicted that in 2014 the number of air passengers will reach 3.3 billion (800 million more than in 2009). Moreover, although two thirds of the entire global aircraft fleet is currently owned by companies based in Europe and North America, carriers in the emerging markets are becoming serious competitors in this very dynamic and fast changing industry. The current aviation business climate invokes the rapid expansion of both airlines and MROs. The highly competitive environment and rivalry between the East and the West spell good news for aviation technicians who can expect a significant growth in employment opportunities, especially in such regions as Latin America, Africa and the Asian-Pacific.

‘Based on the statistical data, an average Chinese person flies once in ten years, a North America national – almost twice per year. Imagine that in China the number of air travels per person reaches the one in the USA – it would be necessary to double the existing global fleet!‘ commented the Deputy Head of FL Technics Training Dainius Sakalauskas.

The demand for air transportation services is increasing not only in China, but also in the entire Asian-Pacific region. However, it causes one very topical issue. Most of the local technical maintenance specialists are older than 42 years of age. Hence finding highly qualified specialists to replace the existing ones is becoming quite a challenging task for airlines and MROs in the region.

Asian-Pacific countries tend to pay more and more attention to the Indian market, leaving China in the second place. In 2003-2004 the aviation sector in India demonstrated an exceptional growth. After the number of passengers in India will increase to 160-180 million per year, the country will require around 300 thousand qualified aviation personnel. Local airlines and MROs will require from 32 to 90 thousand pilots, cabin crew members, engineers, technicians and mechanics. The country, home to more than a billion residents, currently has only 70 aircraft technical training centres. Most of them offer quite extensive theoretical courses but often lack in capabilities to provide proper practical training.

Aviation experts unanimously agree that in the upcoming pentad Africa will become one of the ten most rapidly developing economies. Although in the continent air transportation is much more convenient and attractive than the land one, since the early days of aviation in the region Africa has been faced with the problem of brain-drain. It is highly likely that if the African fleet is replenished with 800 new aircraft, the continent will require almost 58 thousand aviation technicians.

‘Unfortunately, in the last couple of decades Africa has been reluctant to invest into aviation technical training. The existing centres are capable of training only around 600 aviation personnel per year. Hence air companies are increasingly forced to compete for highly qualified specialists and tend to allure them from one another,’ explained D.Sakalauskas.

According to the latest data, in Latin America there are currently 465 000 aviation professionals. By 2030 the number of air passengers in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to triple (from 145.9 to 438.9 million). In Brazil the demand has already increased by 17%. Accordingly, the rapidly expanding aircraft fleet will require 44 thousand technical maintenance personnel.

‘The majority of aviation personnel training centres are located in Europe and North America, although the highest demand for such training services is in the emerging markets. This means that aircraft technical maintenance specialists are either sent to train in the West or do not have access to high quality training at all. Airlines are concerned with optimizing their activities and MROs seek to ensure high quality services as well as attractive turnaround times. Naturally, an inadequately trained specialist will not only prevent them from achieving these objectives, but will also cause a real threat to aviation safety,’ says D.Sakalauskas.

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