Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
Vehemently disagree with this:

Pilots union warns students against starting pilot training courses for the foreseeable future

The pilot’s union, BALPA, has issued a warning to everyone who is thinking about embarking on a pilot training course – think again. BALPA has taken this extraordinary step to help avoid students paying upwards of £100,000 for training only to find there are no jobs available at the end.

Wendy Pursey, Head of Membership and Careers Services at BALPA said, “There are currently 10,000 unemployed commercial pilots across Europe including 1,600 pilots in the UK. Many pilots are working part time or on reduced pay to save jobs. And there are already around 200 trainees in flight training schools who were on a path to jobs with easyJet who now have no clear route to even a licence, far less a job.

“This is not a positive picture for anyone whose heart is set on entering this profession. There will be fewer jobs, with more people competing for each one even once this pandemic is over.

“In this situation it would be irresponsible if we did anything other than warn people to consider delaying their flight training at this time”

“We urge potential pilots to get experience in another profession first which will postpone any training until the industry is in a more robust shape, provide additional skills and experience and also give them another avenue to fall back on. For anyone that still wants to proceed they should consider the Modular training route which does provide the opportunity to learn and work in other fields”.
Seeing as Boeing's forecast for demand for commercial pilots in Europe over the next 20 years went from 148,000 a year ago to147,000 since the pandemic, they are fundamentally wrong. Recovery will progressively come in the next couple of years and there is the perennial need for replacing old with new, to put it bluntly. People retire. Succession planning from top to bottom never disappears. Airlines have a multitude of roles to fill for which graduates always plug the gaps. The UK professional training sector needs no more nails in the coffin with VAT, Brexit, financing challenges etc. when globally it is still recognised as a host to some to the best training standards in the world.
johnm liked this
Is the industry retiring aircraft and people in equal measure?
Certainly plenty of people have been pushed into the early retirement camp, and some will use redundancy to look elsewhere.
There's definitely been some acceleration of fleet retirements too.
But assuming the pandemic passes, the finance companies that own the assets at that point are going to want to make money out of them, and that will need pilots.
Whilst the future is definitely uncertain, there are bounce-back scenarios amongst that uncertainty.
In the short term I could imagine executive aviation having a bit of a boom, as the rich prefer not to expose themselves to the masses?
johnm liked this
One scenario I've discussed with my formerly world travelling son.........

Short haul, especially loco, will bounce back pretty quickly, but mostly for holiday flights. Business flights will reduce permanently on "green" and cost grounds and there'll be a permanent shift in the balance of Zoom type meetings versus face to face.

Long Haul will be slow to recover and patchy because of different rates at which the pandemic eases in different places. The risk of long haul holidays means that fewer will go for a year or two at least. Business flights will suffer the same shift in balance as short haul.

What that implies for pilot training needs I know not.....
riverrock liked this
I work for a Major US global company,. As someone who travelled 3-4 weeks a month generally short haul I'd agree. UK stuff I use the train for but otherwise it was flight followed by car hire if needed. This was across EMEA (Europe Middle East & AFrica)
I haven't travelled since March 9th and have worked from home since. My company have banned customer visits aside from business critical ones (engineers fixing things).
Massive ramp up in Zoom & Teams calls, not ideal for the job I do but I'll live with it.
I would suggest most short haul all the year round is business, in the summer typically 60/40 holidays to biz. So I don't see any flights, short or long haul commencing in any big numbers anytime soon. Will they ever I don't think so. Of our team of 10 most of them say they don't need to travel & are reasonably happy doing conf calls. I am probably the only one who should & could be going to site.
BALPA seem to be saying to delay your training a while, not don't ever think of becoming a commercial pilot. So it's a matter of predicting timescales - how will prospects be when you finish your training?
BALPA, of course, want to protect their current members as much as possible and want them to go back to full employment first. So they would try to slow down the training side.
If it was me I might be tempted to start soon, but not immediately. I'd want much more clarity about how things will pan out.
To put it another way, I don't think lack of pilots is going to be a problem for the industry for quite a while.
johnm liked this
At long last. Someone tells the truth!

Whilst I'm no fan of BALPA (long story) I applaud this effort to enlighten aspiring pilots to the real situation the industry faces.

I get so annoyed at schools peddling the same old mantras that one should invest now to be ready for the uptake in two years time........That simply isn't going to happen before all those with type ratings and time on type can re-establish their career.

There is some merit in continuing modular training but don't do it if it's going to mean sacrificing paid employment elsewhere.

The BALPA video can be viewed here:

Lockhaven, AlanC liked this
Not just pilots, NATS recently dismissed all 122 trainees they had in their system who were still in the college phase of training. Some, in theory, were only two to four weeks from being issued their licence.

They are also currently examining whether their own college training facility at Whitely has a future. Answer... quite possibly not.

Latest Eurocontrol predictions don’t see commercial traffic back at 2019 levels until 2024, at the earliest.
Seeing as Boeing's forecast for demand for commercial pilots in Europe over the next 20 years went from 148,000 a year ago to 147,000 since the pandemic, they are fundamentally wrong. Recovery will progressively come in the next couple of years and there is the perennial need for replacing old with new, to put it bluntly. People retire.

What so many people fail to realise when these figures are produced by manufacturers and flying schools is that whilst that demand may be realistic (although more likely exaggerated) nationality is not considered. If you are training in Europe or America you are very unlikely to be hired over a national native speaker in countries within Asia, Russia or South America. That's not to say that in times of need ex-pat pilots don't get jobs, I spent four years flying for foreign airlines, but in every one I witnessed inverse racism that perennially favoured home grown talent.

Whilst 148k sounds a lot it is in fact only 7400 pilots a year. How many do you think will be needed in Europe given that 10k are already out of work and 1600 in this country. It's not going to clear in one year despite what the schools and manufacturers say. Don't delude yourself that European airlines will be hiring newby's within anything less than four years.
Last edited by BoeingBoy on Fri Nov 06, 2020 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Lockhaven, Dusty_B, cockney steve and 1 others liked this
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. My godson was a year into his career when all this kicked off. And a year into paying off his training...........At least he works for Easyjet, who have come to a part time arrangement with all their crews to keep them all employed, if on less money. As he says, it has killed off his chance to buy a house for a few years but at least he has hope of carrying on with a job he loves. Now is not the time for big spending on anything.
T6Harvard liked this
Just after the first lockdown I was speaking to a young man and his father at Turweston.
Just prior to lockdown, he had just come back from training on an Airlines cadet scheme.

220 hrs and an MPL.

On arrival back home he recieved a notice of termination of employment, and the paperwork for the repayment scheme for the £120k loan.

His licence is pretty much useless now.

His father who was with him told me quietly, that he was going to remortgage his home to bale out his son.

Perhaps in the future HMG could force the employer to pay for training. Just like it is in most other industries.

The challenge here is the damage it does to the UK professional pilot training industry. A two-year or so drying-up of the market, barely any new cadets coming in, frankly will finish off that sector in the UK with all the other handicaps there already are in the UK. It will survive elsewhere within the EU ultimately, but it will prove very hard to raise from the ashes in this country. Every sector of the aviation industry is under attack right now but some areas can survive, most indeed will survive. But to proactively, consciously, kill off our training sector is frankly idiotic when there unquestionably will be a return of the demand for new pilots within a few years. As always, some form of overt, sector-specific government support for what is a bit of a jewel-in-the-crown in the UK would not go amiss. Anyone got Grant Shapps' phone number?