kidpilot1.jpg
image source
The future is bright?
Boeing may not have reason to be bullish about its ability to fill upcoming orders for commercial jets, but

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Boeing Implausibly Predicts Pilot Profession to Proliferate

kidpilot1.jpg
image source
The future is bright?
Boeing may not have reason to be bullish about its ability to fill upcoming orders for commercial jets, but why dwell on that when you can make outlandish claims about the number of pilots the industry will soon be needing to hire!

On that score, the company recently made some downright rosy projections. As reported in USA Today:

Aircraft maker Boeing has forecast a need for 466,650 more commercial pilots by 2029 - an average of 23,300 new pilots a year. Nearly 40% of the openings will be to meet the soaring travel market in the Asia-Pacific region, Boeing predicts, but more than 97,000 will be in North America.

To put that in perspective, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2008 (the latest year for which it offers data), there were 116,000 commercial pilots working in the United States.

Why the need to almost double the number of American pilots in an industry that has been essentially stagnant (if not in decline) for two decades? Explains USA Today:

The hiring surge is being fueled by several factors:

•The rapid growth of travel in Asia, which is on track to surpass North America as the largest air travel market in the world;

•A looming wave of pilot retirements in the USA;

•Proposed changes to rules that could increase the time pilots must train, rest and work;

•And increasing demand for air travel within the USA as the economy improves.

To which we say, fine, there is an expanding middle class across Asia, and more people there will be flying in coming years. And yes, it makes sense that baby boomers will start leaving the profession in droves as they hit the mandatory retirement age of 65. And OK, fine, new rules. But increased demand for air travel as the economy improves? This is part of the carefully calibrated equation telling us how many pilots we'll be needing over the next 18 years?

Throwing more cold water on this is that pesky Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projected that commercial pilot jobs would expand by 12 percent between 2008 and 2018, at the same estimated rate as the rest of the economy.

Assuming that Boeing's amazingly optimistic numbers that have nothing to do with diverting attention from the degree to which it is getting its ass handed to it by Airbus are true, how well are these hundreds of thousands of jobs going to pay? As the Air Force Times reported over the weekend:

The average starting salary for a pilot at a small regional carrier, where most pilots get their start, is roughly $21,000 a year.

So that's how it's going work: half a million new pilots living below the poverty line. Sweet.

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