Many of Pilot aspirants have asked questions regarding possible job market scenario for Pilots in coming time due to COVID impact. Therefore, I am summing up my analytics over the same.
As we know the before he COVID pandemic hit the world, aviation was booming like never before. Multiple agencies forecast great demand for Pilots. Therefore, many of eligible candidates for Pilot training rush for flying training with dreams of becoming an airline Pilot and travel the world in style. I personally witnessed people who left their corporate jobs of software, finance and the like and jump in to cockpit with a dream of sitting on right seat of some airline. This all was going on smoothly before COVID 19 hit the world.
We landed in an unprecedented world of lock-downs and ban on travel. Airlines round the world grounded their airplanes for months. One can understand the financial loses that resulted due to grounding of multi-million dollar transport equipment. Even though, travel has re-opened, we may take at least few years to reach to numbers of Pre-COVID times. The loses with Airlines has piled up to unimaginable levels. With most Governments not willing to take the losses on tax payers money, the losses stay with the airline and its partners. An industry that do business on wafer thin margin is now riding with load of losses.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT TO AIRLINE STAFF
As a result of grounding and subsequent slow recovery, Airlines are forced to reduce salaries of the staff and trimming of perks. New hiring has been ceased with immediate effect and many of airline staff world over lost their jobs. There is not much clarity on course of recovery. Thereby, no future promises by Airline. It is more of wait and watch situation as of date as the world fear consecutive waves of the infection with question looming over efficacy of claimed vaccines.
Flying or any other profession, freshers or people who are in touch with the profession are always preferred over people with breaks in carrier. In flying terms, License holders with recent flying activity will always be preferred over employed Pilots who have little or no recent flying activity in their logs.
CADET PILOTS: There are large number of student Pilots who get stuck by the Pandemic and their training got impacted due to lock down. Most of them have resumed their training now and looking to complete training as soon as possible and seek their License. Great. THEN WHAT? Possibly a long wait for Airline interviews and they will be part of unemployed Pilot pool. How long may be the wait? No leads. Is it better that give a pause to your training for now and come back to finish your training after sometime when the market stabilizes? This way you have more chances to remain relevant for the hiring Airline as you will be having a recent flying activity. You will remain a fresher for Airline.
ASPIRANT PILOTS: Airlines are already thrown 2-3 years back by the Pandemic. This duration may increase in coming time due to uncertainty of consumer confidence in traveling freely like before. If you join flying training now and become a Pilot in 1-2 years, there is a high chance that you will become part of unemployed Pilot pool. Therefore, delaying the plan of commencing flying training for 1 year or so until there is some clarity on recovery. You can surely use this time to clear all theory papers and enroll into a course of your interest. Since Pilot training is not a full-time course and can be done with a regular degree course, you can anytime start training if things improve. By doing so you can also save on interest amount on money required for flying training.
Existing Flying training schools have increased their fees due to increased in-flow of students before the pandemic. In present scenario where most of the countries are not issuing new work or student visa, aspirant Pilots must settle with Indian Flying training schools. That is why hourly charges of Indian Flying schools are running high. There are more flying schools opening in coming time in India and with visa issuance from other countries, students can once again go abroad for flying training.
*Author is an Indian Private Pilot and keen observer of Indian aviation market. He has flown with multiple flying training schools of India. He enjoys mentoring people who wish to be a commercial / hobby Pilot. He can be approached at firstname.lastname@example.org