Africa needs 67, 000 pilots, technicians, cabin crew to solve manpower problems

  • Pilot shortage hit Nigeria, others
  • Nigerians stranded as Lufthansa ground crew embark on strike



Aircraft giant, Boeing has raised concern over the dearth of pilots, technicians, and cabin brew as the plane maker In its 2022-2041 Pilot and Technician Outlook (PTO), Africa is set to need 20,000 pilots, 21,000 technicians, and 26,000 cabin crew.

In Nigeria, the scarcity of skilled manpower to replace the aging workforce is putting the country’s aviation industry on the edge as the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria trains professionals yearly without companies to engage them for their services.

There is also a shortage of pilots in the country as indigenous pilots roam the streets while many others have ventured into other businesses not related to the profession they spent several millions of dollars to acquire their licenses and other certifications.

Aside from Nigeria, the global aviation industry is facing a similar problem. A widespread deficit of pilots across all continents has affected the sector, particularly in recent years, with cases of pilot shortages regularly occurring.

Nigeria’s case is ironic because while so many young pilots and aircraft engineers are seeking to fly for airlines, airline operators are looking for very experienced pilots and engineers who are not being replaced.

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The shrinking size of aircraft in the fleet of airline operators has forced many Nigerian pilots to seek greener pastures outside the shores of Nigeria.

The shortage of aircraft engineers for many operators of Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) in Nigeria has led to a capacity deficit and as such has led to the commensurate expansion of many of the nation’s MRO operators.

Boeing in its projection made available to Aviation Metric estimated that 602,000 pilots, 610,000 maintenance technicians, and 899,000 cabin crew members will be required to operate the global commercial fleet set to nearly double to 47,080 aircraft by 2041.

the aerospace and defence giant, Boeing projected increased demand for 2.1 million new aviation personnel over the next 20 years to support the commercial aviation sector’s steady recovery and meet the anticipated surge in demand for air travel over the forecasted period.

Boeing estimated that 602,000 pilots, 610,000 maintenance technicians, and 899,000 cabin crew members will be required to operate the global commercial fleet set to nearly double to 47,080 aircraft by 2041.

This year’s projections surpass 2021 estimates by 3.4%, excluding the Russian Federation in line with the Western sanctions forbidding aircraft exports to the transcontinental country.

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China, Europe, and North America collectively represent more than 50% of the total global demand for aviation professionals, with Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Asia taking the lead as the fastest-growing markets expected to grow by 4% over the projected period.

“As the commercial aviation industry recovers from the pandemic and plans for long-term growth, we anticipate a steady and increasing demand for aviation personnel, as well as the ongoing need for highly effective training,” Boeing Global Services’ Vice President of Commercial Training Solutions, Chris Broom said, stressing that the company’s customer-centric approach and digital expertise include a commitment to delivering data-driven, competency-based training and assessment solutions as well as technologies that meet customers’ evolving needs.

According to the PTO, Africa is set to need 20,000 pilots, 21,000 technicians, and 26,000 cabin crew. Meanwhile, China will require 126,000 pilots, 124,000 technicians, and 162,000 cabin crew.

The European market demand for pilots is estimated to reach 122,000, 120,000 technicians, and 207,000 cabin crew, while the Latin American market will need 35,000 pilots, 35,000 technicians, and 48,000 cabin crew.

For the Middle East, 53,000 pilots, 50,000 technicians, and 99,000 cabin crew will be needed compared to 128,000; 134,000, and 173,000 respectively in North America and 22,000, 24,000 and 38,000 in Northeast Asia.

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Furthermore, Oceania will require 9,000 pilots, 10,000 technicians, and 18,000 crew members, compared to 37,000, 34,000, and 43,000 in South Asia and 50,000 pilots, 58,000 technicians, and 85,000 crew in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, a warning strike by the ground crew on Wednesday will have Lufthansa needing to cancel all its flights out of Frankfurt and Munich. The effects of the strike could even last until Thursday and Friday, the German airline has warned, which quantifies the strike as “disproportionate’ with ‘enormous damage’.


Crowded Lagos airport

Many travelers from Nigeria and around the world who had booked ahead of the strike could have their travel plans disrupted.

A source from Lufthansa told our correspondent that the carrier’s aircraft is stationed at the Murtala Muhammed International since Tuesday as a result of the one-day warning strike.

He said passengers were left stranded in Lagos on Tuesday in Lagos, Frankfurt, and Munich as a result of the strike action.

He however said that would depart Wednesday night to Frankfurt, Lufthansa Airlines hub.

Wole Shadare