I’m a college student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in business. My plan is to then start my flight training at ATP. I know the market is booming right now. How long is that trend expected to last? I won’t graduate for another 2 years. Would the market still be open to new pilots at that point?
All experts and data shows the shortage should be strong and continue at least through 2030. The caveat of course is things that happen beyond anyone’s control. We saw this with Covid. Things were booming then the faucet was turned off over night. It’s back on again but if you were unfortunate enough to have 1500hrs and be looking to get hired 2yrs ago there were no jobs to be had.
Short answer you should be fine but…
It should be. The airline industry typically ebbs and flows every ten years or so.
One thing I want to clarify is the difference between a hiring window and a pilot shortage. We are currently experiencing a pilot shortage thus the hiring windows are all open. However, once the airlines adequately replenish their workforce, under normal circumstances the hiring windows will still open on occasion.
That’s why it is best to strive to become the best pilot you can be regardless. Competent, well trained pilots will be the first to be offered positions when a hiring window opens.
It’s really anyones guess but most airlines are showing similar data of massive retirements and the need for pilots through the next 8-10 years. Starting flight training in 2 years and being at a regional in 4 should still place you in the hiring wave. However, things can and do change very quickly in this industry. Regardless, seniority is everything so you want to get to the regionals as quick as you can. To continue the metaphor, never know when the “faucet will turn off”. Plus you want to be as close to the top of the hiring wave, not the bottom. Being at the end of the wave means years even decades being junior. Reserve, poor trips and even vulnerable to furloughs. That’s not a place you want to be.
At my airline we are showing several hundred retirements per year for the foreseeable future, most other airlines are he same. I personally do not see this job environment cooling anytime soon. The thing to keep in mind is that as airline pilots, we turn into pumpkins on our 65th birthday, so there are always pilots retiring.