By Kyle Garrett, AviationSchoolsOnline.com
For those who have not given up the dream of becoming a professional pilot, now may be the best time ever to begin flight training. 2009 will most likely go down in history as being the worst year to be looking for a flying job with the airlines, freight companies, fractional operators and charter outfits. According to an article in Plane & Pilot Magazine, December 2009 issue, only 30 pilots have been hired by these aviation segments this year, making it by far the worst hiring year since 1975, when 175 pilots were hired. So what’s the good news?
The professional pilot job market has bottomed out, and the only place to go is up. There’s a trifecta brewing that could make aviation jobs boom again; the FAA predicts that worldwide airline passenger travel is estimated to grow at 7% per year through 2015; a large number of older pilots are set to retire after getting an extension on their careers from the new mandatory retirement age of 65, up from 60; according to the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), global air traffic will triple between 2009 and 2034. All of these factors point to a huge recovery in aviation, and that means the demand for pilots will increase.
Earning an FAA certified pilot certificate may require more training in the future. If you’re interested in flying for a living, the time to start is now. Pilots starting training today could be faced with tougher hiring standards: a proposed new requirement to posses an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate for eligibility to fly for airlines (up from just a Commercial certificate), new safety management systems training (SMS), and increased simulator training standards just to name a few.
The bottom line – the future looks bright for professional pilots, but the best time to start that future is today. A good way to begin exploring your options is to contact flight academies and universities.