Thread: Pilot Shortage
View Single Post
Old 10-10-2018, 09:38 PM   #33  
Gets Weekends Off
atpcliff's Avatar
Joined APC: Mar 2007
Position: Capt
Posts: 2,751

Originally Posted by headhunter View Post
While I don't think there is any such thing as a paradigm shift in economics (New Economy anyone?), I do think the airline industry is in a major cycle transition:

1. Obviously the primary driver is the retirements that are hitting and will continue to increase and remain high over the next decade. No one disputes this.

2. The military is not producing nearly as many pilots as it used to. This one is not as obvious, but most people out there, pilots and non-pilots alike, do not appreciate how drastically our military pilot pool has shrunk over the decades. WW2 produced tons of pilots, as did the Cold War, and many of these pilots went onto airline careers (see #1). Then the Cold War ended (my freshman year of college) and our military has steadily reduced the number of cockpits and pilots ever since. Bottom line: the airline industry historically has depended on just about 50% of their pilot force to come from the military. That is no longer the case, and will remain so for a very long time if not forever.

3. The economy under Trump, love him or hate him, is the best it has ever been, period. We are not in a bubble such as the 90's tech bubble or the 00's housing bubble. This boom does not appear to be sustained by any one particular sector of the economy. I reserve the right to be wrong on this one, but I think that Trump's policy of removing business-strangling regulations that have piled up over the decades is at the core of this; our economy is simply adjusting for a reduction in red tape and over-regulation. Again, I reserve the right to be wrong.

What this adds up to is a perfect storm for an airline pilot shortage: you have large numbers of pilots that have to leave the ranks due to mandatory retirement, you have a supply shortage from the military pilot ranks, and a booming economy in which the majors are consistently talking about expanding (i.e., more cockpits to fill).

It's a good time to be in this industry.

While I agree that the oil market is generally cyclical, and that OPEC can play their games to affect prices, I do think that fracking and the resurgence of the American oil industry is a game changer. Something I noticed this entire year is that oil never went above $70 a barrel, despite the prediction that it would. I can't help but think that fracking has indeed brought a stability to the oil markets that it has lacked. And it is now here for the long term. Again, I reserve the right to be wrong.
ANY source of oil (or natural gas, or coal) is NOT a long-term energy solution. There is a finite amount of all of the above.
atpcliff is offline