Is It Still A Good Time to Become A Career Pilot?

Covid-19 has made it nearly impossible for airlines to keep operating. Through the short time of this global pandemic, most airlines have lost up to 80% of their business and revenue. Some major airlines like South Africa Airways has to shut its doors completely and liquidate. Given all of these, is it still a good time to pursue a pilot career? let’s ask the experts.

A recent study done by Kit Darby, an aviation career expert and consultant shows that the airline industry can indeed survive the current recession. It won’t be overnight, but new pilots will still be needed in the coming years. Here are Kit’s observations:

Yes, the airlines will survive and thrive after COVID-19 but it will take a while to get back to 100% and grow beyond previous levels. What does a typical recovery look like? Taking a look at previous economic, medical, and security events in the past like The Great Depression in 1929, 9/11/2001, SARS in 2003, MERS in 2012, I see a combined rapid in and out “U” shaped recovery (Red lines below), initially, followed by a slower “L” shaped recovery (Blue line below) lasting several years. It should look something like this; initial “U” (Red) plus a 1 (Green), 2 (Blue), or 3 (Purple) year slower “L” recovery shown below:



Pilots Age 65 that are expected to retire

The conclusion is that a recovery will happen, and it may in fact work in favor of those pilots who are starting now. If we forecast that recovery will take the next 3-5 years, that’s more than enough time for new pilots to build the necessary flight hours needed to transition into the airlines.

You can read the full study here

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