Feb. 11, 2020

NBAA is encouraging lawmakers to address a growing shortage of pilots and aviation technicians, as well as an aging pilot population.

In written testimony submitted to the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation, NBAA noted that the Boeing company outlook has projected that 645,000 new commercial pilots and nearly 100,000 new business aircraft pilots will be needed worldwide between 2019 and 2038. Meanwhile, there is a projected worldwide demand for almost 770,000 new aviation technicians over the next 20 years.

“Another challenge we face is the aging pilot population, with the average age of commercial pilots at 51, and a mandatory retirement age of 65 for airline pilots, future demand will only increase,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen told the subcommittee in his testimony. “New entrants to the workforce are also not choosing aviation careers as they did in the past, and the supply of pilots has decreased by 30% since 1987. With the worldwide demand for air travel continuing to increase, we must come together and take bold actions that will enable the U.S. to maintain its role as the world leader in aviation.”

NBAA worked with the subcommittee’s Chairman, Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2-WA), and Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Angie Craig (D-2-MN), on the introduction of H.R. 5118, the Promoting Service in Transportation Act. This bill would authorize the Department of Transportation to develop a series of broadcast, digital and print public service announcements to promote career opportunities and improve diversity in the transportation workforce.

NBAA praised the committee for helping to pass the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which includes several workforce development initiatives, including grant programs to support the education of future aircraft pilots and the recruitment of aviation maintenance technicians.

“With the passage of the FAA Reauthorization bill and introduction of H.R. 5118, Congress has already shown strong leadership in addressing aviation workforce challenges,” NBAA wrote in its testimony. “With rapidly advancing technology, including electric aircraft and unmanned systems, our industry is ready to grow, but to be successful, we must all work to attract the next generation of employees.”

Review NBAA’s written testimony. (PDF)