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This article addresses the aviation industry’s current and future manpower shortage and how ICAO is helping with TrainAir Plus training initiatives.The ICAO and other aviation industry professionals have been warning of the shortage of skilled aviation professionals. This shortage is expected to continue to worsen over the next decade and beyond. The shortage of workers exists throughout the entire range of aviation careers and around the globe including the Asia-Pacific region and Africa, which have been especially hard hit.

Consider these statistics

  • It is expected that airlines will need to add 25,000 new aircraft to their fleets within the next 20 years at a rate of three new planes being put into service each day
  • 480,000 new technicians will be needed by 2026 to maintain the new aircraft
  • 350,000 new pilots will be needed by 2026 to fly that new aircraft
  • Additional air traffic controllers are needed to replace those who have retired
  • 438,356 new passengers will fly each day
  • In Boeing’s Long Term Market Current Forecast 2015-2043 projects that more than one million new technicians and pilots will be needed by 2034

Anticipated Needs of the Aviation Industry

Overall, the aviation industry is going to need to fill 3,507 jobs a day and this includes:

  • 67 new pilots a day
  • 13 new ATC a day
  • 113 new maintenance technicians a day

Underlying Causes of the Worker Shortage

So why is the aviation industry experiencing such a serious worker shortage? Actually, it is occurring because of several factors:

  • Large scale retirements of aviation professionals such as 73 percent of American air traffic controllers retiring between 2005 to 2015
  • A lack of awareness of types of aviation professions available
  • Training capacity cannot meet industry demands
  • Learning methodologies are not responsive to new learning styles
  • Difficulty finding affordable training
  • A lack of harmonization of competencies among some aviation disciplines

ICAO’s TrainAir Plus is Working to Combat Aviation Worker Shortages

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The ICAO has been working to meet the demand for workers.

TrainAir Plus has been playing an important part in adapting training programs for training centers to work toward meeting the demand for workers through training opportunities.

The benefits that TrainPlus provides are:

  • Improved capacity and connectivity through the TrainAir Plus network
  • Competency-based training (CBT)
  • An integrated system platform for implementation and management of training
  • An expansion of standardized training development and delivery for new job training

In 2010, Singapore’s ST Aerospace Academy and Tiger Airways implemented a trial program of the TrainAir Plus system with Competency-Based Training (CBT) and assessment as a more effective way to training aviation personnel.

In 2013, the African country of Sudan opened an aviation sciences and technology academy. This academy implemented TrainAir Plus and has been successful in producing graduates who have the broad and high skill needs that the aviation industry requires.

Training centers can utilize the benefits of TrainAir Plus to increase their capacity for aviation trainees and standardize their training for aviation careers. 

Regional TrainAir Plus Centre of Excellence & Compliance

Institutes like the Institutes like theEast African School of Aviation (EASA) in Kenya or the Académie Internationale Mohammed VI de l'Aviation Civile in Morocco qualified to become regional centers of excellence and compliance. Being regional qualification hubs lead to strongly increased turnover and headcount, continuously improving equipment due to higher budgets, guidance and support by ICAO and world-wide reputation of a top class institute.

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References and Additional Reading