Apparently not many according to a recent article posted on AVweb by a certain “Captain X” who reported that a substantial percentage of the newly hired airline pilots they get just aren’t excited like they used to be about their career prospects. Moreover, Captain X wrote that during the 2007 and 2008 hiring booms, people were climbing over each other to get an interview but now when they call ten people, only five bother to show up.
Worst, those who bother to show up can’t pass a written test that is straight out of the FAA commercial pilot written and can’t seem to do much else (which Captain X went into considerable detail about…) Captain X then offered the following explanations that both he and his colleagues have come up with to explain the current and increasingly dire situation:
- The usual fallback explanation: The younger generation just has a sense of entitlement and don’t want to work as hard.
- The airline industry has driven or frightened away the best and the brightest.
- The upcoming 1500-hour / ATP minimum requirement for all airline pilots, which will go into effect in 2013, has scared everyone away.
- We process information differently because we are all wired and connected to the cloud now – meaning new training procedures are needed.
- Economic hard times is making it harder for instrument pilots to remain proficient on their own.
- No one is getting commercial pilots’ licenses anymore as FAA data shows that the numbers have plunged over the last three years.
However, Captain X did not mention the fact that regional airlines in the USA have earned somewhat of a bad reputation for both pilot pay and the quality of life for pilots plus there has been an explosion in the growth of airlines around the world – especially in the Middle East, China and SE Asia as the middle class in these areas continues to grow and travel more. In other words, perhaps pilots are finding greener pastures further afield.
Given that Captain X has voiced his views on the situation in the US, it would be interesting to hear what any UK or European pilots, especially airline pilots, think. In other words, is the situation the same in the UK and over on the continent (where the economy is fast on the way to crashing) or is this just an American problem?