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The pilot shortage is an awaiting reality in business aviation in 2022
The fact that a shortage of pilots is coming was said even before the pandemic. It was predicted, but it seemed like something far away. And now, when the industry is recovering and showing growth, the lack of pilots has become very noticeable. And this is especially true for business aviation.
When covid-19 swept the whole world, the aviation industry suffered almost the most. The fleet was almost grounded. Airlines have suffered huge losses. Curiously, during the coronavirus pandemic, many pilots have been retired earlier, not just fired.
It's no secret that becoming a pilot is expensive and difficult. One must passion about flying to go through all these difficulties to get work in aviation. That is, at first, the organic influx of people simply decreased.
The shortage of pilots also happened because the military forces decreased the demand for pilots (and this was the significant source of qualified personnel for civil aviation) due to the widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Add to this the worth job offers from large airlines for experienced jet pilots.
So, the bottleneck that hinders the development of business aviation operators from "sales" has shifted to "production", that is, to the pilots: the aircraft may be available, but the pilot is not.
What to do in such a situation?
Until recently, the main lever of pressure on pilots was financial motivation. Now the US Jet Pilot Salary is an average of $94k.
However, many progressive operators are already developing their programs and switching to non-material motivation - they have become more attentive to working conditions. Flexible schedule and taking into account individual features of work.
An interesting "sandbox" idea for professional pilots came up with Advanced Air, LLC in partnership with Southwest Airlines. They agreed that cadets, having studied and trained on private jets, have the opportunity to continuously move up the career ladder and transit to work in airlines.
A different problem arose with the sales department of part 135 operators. Even considering the short planning horizon, it is easy to see on the chart that the aeroplane is free. How do you know if a suitable pilots are available?
- Pilots may have multiple aircraft type credentials, customers may have pilot qualification requirements, pilots may have individual work schedules – it becomes difficult to put everything together
- The task becomes more difficult if the operator has different types of aircraft, multiple bases, etc.
- And do not forget about disruptions - when there are a lot of pilots, it is possible to form a reserve, to make a large margin of time. And when there are few pilots, everything turns out tight, and a delay leads to a deterioration in the level of customer service. And this is a private jet - here the quality of service is more important than in an airline
It seems that one cannot do without a special IT tool. But here's the problem:
- Smart software for airlines is designed for scheduled flights - it is cannot be in business aviation - this means that traditional software developed for airline schedules is not suitable
- Smart software for airlines is designed for a large fleet with 500+ pilots - because of this, the software divides the planning task into parts: pairing / rostering / reserves, because otherwise, it is impossible to calculate. And for small teams of pilots, such software is not suitable because of this separation. Calculation results are too approximate
- When there is no shortage of pilots, it is not so difficult to make up a schedule of work. There was no shortage in business aviation, and therefore there was no software that could work with a shortage
Here could be a powerful conclusion. Stay tuned! Thank you :)