It was not too long ago that there was a high demand for pilots globally. The outlook was good. When Boeing released its 2013 Pilot and Technician Outlook, it predicted the need for nearly 500,000 airline pilots by 2032. According to the company, this was an increase on previous forecasts for nearly all regions, except Europe. The report also predicted the need for 556,000 new commercial airline technicians.
What happened in 2020? The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Within weeks, the COVID-19 crisis grounded most of the global airline industry. The forecast is a minimum of 8,000 grounded planes by September which could result in 90,000 unemployed pilots worldwide. No doubt, it will take several years for air travel to return to pre-virus levels thereby impacting the job market for aviators and other aviation personnel.
Here are some examples of the impact of COVID-19 on the pilots:
-Virgin Atlantic has fired more than 3000 people including 600 Pilots. Virgin Australia has filed for bankruptcy
-Finnair returns 12 planes and lays off 2,400 people.
-Ryannair will cut 3,000 jobs as the coronavirus crisis drags on.
-Delta is reducing capacity by 40% in the next few months
-KLM has announced that it will cut up to 2,000 jobs out of its 33,000 workforce to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
-Norwegian Air completely stops its long-haul activity. The 787s are returned to the lessors. 4.700 aircrew (1,570 pilots and 3,130 cabin crew) were laid off. The company has said it will run out of cash by mid-May.
-SAS returns 14 planes and fires 520 pilots… The Scandinavian states are studying a plan to liquidate Norwegian and SAS to rebuild a new company from their ashes
-Wizz Air returns 32 A320s and lays off 1,200 people, including 200 pilots, another wave of 430 layoffs planned in the coming months. Remaining employees will see their wages reduced by 30%.
-Etihad cancels 18 orders for A350, grounds 10 A380 and 10 Boeing 787. Lays off 720 staff
-Emirate grounds 38 A380s and cancels all orders for the Boeing 777x (150 aircraft, the largest order for this type). They “invite” all employees over 56 to retire.
-IGA/British Airways is set to cut up to 12,000 jobs for its 42,000 strong workforce due to the collapse in business due to the coronavirus
- IAG (British Airways’ parent company) abandons the takeover of Air Europa (and will pay €40 million compensation for that).
- IAG (Iberia) grounds 56 planes.
- IAG (British Airways) grounds 34 planes. Everyone over 58 to retire
-Easyjet laid off its 4,000 UK-based cabin crew for 2 months.
-Luxair reduces its fleet by 50% (and associated redundancies)
-Czech Airlines CSA abolishes its long-haul sector and keeps only 5 medium-haul aircraft
-Eurowings goes into bankruptcy
-Brussels Airline reduces its fleet by 50% (and associated redundancies)
-Lufthansa plans to ground 72 aircraft (in two installments)
-So far more than 20,000 United Airlines employees have volunteered for unpaid leave of absence.
-Qantas has put 20,00 staff on leave
-Air Canada has put about 15,200 staff on leave.
Many of the airlines are on the brink of bankruptcy. The air transport industry is on life support!