Aviation organisations worldwide are increasing their efforts to attract new recruits to the aviation industry. A July 2014 report from Boeing suggests that 533,000 new commercial airline pilots and 584,000 new maintenance technicians will be needed to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is particularly mindful that future demand for air travel will be supported by sufficiently qualified personnel on the ground and in the air and in October 2014 organised a global conference to discuss some of the issues.

“International civil aviation’s greatest priorities over the coming decades virtually all derive from the projected doubling of our network’s capacity,” said ICAO Council President Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “The possibly dramatic shortage of pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers we will soon be facing, as well as the need to accelerate training and certification for these aviation professionals and the new managers who will need to lead them, are key areas where ICAO’s leadership and action will be instrumental to the future viability and sustainability of our global network.”

Which is why aviation trade associations in all parts of the world on a recruitment drive to attract young professionals to their own sector. In the USA, for example, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in September 2014 launched its Young Professionals In Business Aviation initiative in September 2014.

As the baby boomer generation retires, the industry needs new generations of entrants with new skills. In Africa there is a particular drive to recruit new aviation professionals, given the industry’s vital role as a wealth creator, and some countries are investing heavily in new facilities and programmes to increase access to the industry from all sectors of society. In June 2014 the Ethiopian Aviation Academy graduated 92 aviation maintenance technicians, 10 pilots, 20 cabin crew and 25 finance professionals, including nationals from Nigeria, Yemen and Libya. Said CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group Tewolde Gebremariam “We have invested over $80 million in our Academy over the last four years and have upgrade its in-take capacity to over 1,000 students per year. Per our Vision 2025 strategic roadmap, we plan to further increase this in-take capacity to over 4,000 by 2025, with a view to serve not just our needs but also the growing demand of skilled aviation professionals across Africa.”

“The transport sector remains a critical driver and enabler in the implementation of the National Development Plan to advance economic development, job creation, growth, and further provide equitable access to opportunities and services for all, while fostering an inclusive society and economy, said Sindisiwe Chikunga: MP, Deputy Minister of Transport, in August 2014. “The recent massive infrastructure development programme which also include air travel infrastructure is done so to handle passenger capacities come 2030. And these can only be realized in a transformed industry that has adequate human and financial resources with equal access and opportunities for development.”