I am aware of the fact that you guys have answered this question a million times but please, answer it a million and one more. For someone like me who plans to start ATP school in May 2021, after college graduation, how “hurt” or recovered will the airlines be by that time due to Covid? Covid has changed the flying experience and school permantely has it not? Do the benefits of being a pilot due to the shortage of pilots that beneficial to the point where it overtakes the damage covid has done? Please let me know. Thank you in advance.
A few things. As far as how hurt or recovered the industry will be I don’t care if you ask me, the President, Wall Street, the CDC, the CEO of any airline, etc etc, there’s not a soul on this planet who can answer that question. Will we find a vaccine? A cure? If so when? Will there be a stronger second wave? Will European and other nations keep their borders closed? If not when will they open? Until any of those questions get answered we’ve got as much info as we do to answer if you’ll have a graduation ceremony next spring? What I can tell you is that most airlines are hoping things will improve and are proceeding as if they will. If they’re wrong things will get uglier, if not they won’t. I’m a union rep and officer and I’ve had meetings with some heavy hitters in the industry and the answer is always the same, no one knows for certain but there’s no choice but to continue with optimism and caution. Otherwise they need to stop furlough mitigation, start firing people and start scrapping planes.
Next the pilot shortage. If the only benefit you see to being a pilot is the fact there’s a shortage you should probably rethink this whole thing. Right not we have Covid, but we had the recession last decade, 9/11 before that. There’s a shortage and then there’s not. While sure it’s nice to be in demand (and it def helped get the pay up) it also gives people the impression that this is easy. It’s not and there are always challenges. The damage Covid has and will continue to do can’t be undone. If you started training 2yrs ago and were just hitting 1500 hrs you’d have a tough time finding work as a pilot right now. Some will find jobs in another professions and never return, can’t undo that. Same for the pilots who did everything right. Did their training, built their time, got hired during the shortage at a Regional, upgraded to Capt finally got their dream job at Delta a year ago and received a letter notifying them they’d be furloughed this morning. That said if you got hired 1.5yrs ago you’ll probably be fine but if you were hired 5yrs ago you might be getting downgraded but 10yrs again you could be ok. This is more about timing and unless you have a crystal ball no one has the right answer.
If everything recovers as we hope than the early retirements being offered will more than compensate for the slowdown and you should be in a great position. That said no one saw this coming and IF the next catastrophe hits and IF you’re not senior enough to hold your seat or your job then you too could be putting that degree you earned to work.
The point is while the Zombie Apocalypse has given everyone the jitters the fact is while this is an amazing career instability can never be ruled out. Ultimately it’s up to you what’s worth what but if you’re looking for guarantees they simply don’t exist.
Nobody really knows where the industry will be in a few years, nobody. What history does show us though is that people want to travel and the airlines will recover. It might take some time, but we will eventually return to a period of growth. Any way you cut it, airline retirements will continue on axe as nobody can fly an airliner past their 65th birthday.
By the time you plan on starting ATP, I suspect that the airlines will be in full recovery mode, but that is simply a guess.
Wow, thank you for the detailed response Mr. Adam! Really opened up my eyes, I am just being paranoid, hopefully by the time I enter the workforce things will have smoothed out. Lets hope for the best!
Yes, let us hope for the best, I will not let anything crush my dream of piloting a 747, no matter how many years away that is!
The biggest threat to your dream of piloting a 747 is the fact that unless you fly cargo you won’t have the opportunity. Further Boeing is considering stopping production after almost 50yrs. But don’t worry, there will always be lots of cool planes to fly!
Don’t become overly fixated on flying any one particular airplane. At the end of the day it is the quality of life, schedules, pay, benefits, and of course loving the job that matter a lot more than which airplane you fly.