AIRSHOW-Lack of pilots could hinder airlines' growth -study

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By Alana WiseNEW YORK, June 20 (Reuters) - The worldwide commercial
aviation industry will need an additional 255,000 pilots by 2027
to sustain its rapid growth, according to a 10-year forecast
published by training company CAE Inc<CAE.TO> on Tuesday.
    More than half of the necessary pilots have not yet begun
training, the report concludes, as the industry braces for an
increase in passenger air traffic that will double the size of
the commercial air transport industry in the next 20 years.
    "Rapid fleet expansion and high pilot retirement rates
create a further need to develop 180,000 first officers into new
airline captains, more than in any previous decade," said the
report by CAE, which trains pilots for airlines around the
    Pilot unions in the United States have said low wages and
scarce benefits for entry-level positions are deterring a new
generation of potential aviators from pursuing the field.
    In the U.S., training requirements also are a hurdle for
many would-be pilots.
    The United States is the only country to require co-pilots
to have at least 1,500 flight hours unless they have experience
flying planes in the military or are graduates of certain
specialized programs.
    According to the U.N.'s aviation agency, which sets global
standards typically adopted by regulators from its 191-member
countries, it takes a minimum of about 250 hours to obtain a
commercial pilot license for work as a co-pilot.
    By contrast, 1,500 hours is the minimum time required to
become a captain under norms set by the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO), the U.N. agency that supports the
development of global aviation.
    While the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration previously
had followed ICAO norms, the 1,500-hour requirement for
co-pilots was imposed following the crash of Colgan Air Flight
3407, a regional jet, in 2009, that killed 50 people.
    The 1,500-hour mandate is supported by pilots' unions as a
way to improve air safety. However, regional airlines and some
aviation experts say the tougher standard does not make flying
any safer and has exacerbated the pilot shortage by making the
training process longer and more costly.
    "The idea was that you would fly a year or two as a paid
co-pilot and then become a captain when you had the 1,500
hours," said one aviation source familiar with the matter. "Now
you have to get the 1,500 hours before you get the first

 (Reporting by Alana Wise in New York and Allison Lampert in
Montreal; Editing by Joseph White and Bill Trott)


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