May 5, 2020

In the face of historically low oil prices, the oil and gas industry likely won’t soon be hiring rotorcraft pilots for exploratory operations, according to Sam Scanlon, managing partner of aviation job site, which will exacerbate an already tough market for helicopter operators during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the oil and gas industry price crash on helicopter operations will be big, but possibly short term,” said Scanlon, who believes that COVID-19’s impact on helicopter activity will be less than that on fixed-wing operations, since rotorcraft operations tend to be more specialized.

However, the longer oil prices remain low, the more significant impact they will have on rotorcraft operations and sales. Lower oil exploration and development activity will also likely have a direct impact on helicopter manufacturing.

Over the past month, has seen the biggest decrease in postings for major and regional airline positions. However, Scanlon reports that job advertisements in some sectors of the industry have increased recently, as states begin to reopen businesses.

Despite the current hiring climate, Scanlon predicts that the long-term demand for skilled aviation talent remains, and he can even see an increase in demand for helicopter emergency medical services, as hospitals and local and regional governments work to be better prepared for a future medical crisis.

“The long-term outlook remains unchanged,” said Scanlon. “The industry will still need millions of skilled aviation professionals, including pilots and mechanics, in the next 20 years.”