Inflation, recession, depression, gas shortages, environment - What's in store for aviation?

Hello everyone,

Hope all is well. I am an avid (ok, obsessive) reader of news, politics, policy and economics. I believe myself to be less hysterical and I make all attempts to get nuanced, unbiased and bi-partisan takes on every issue. I can’t help but be pretty concerned by some of the economic data that came out recently - as well as the gas shortages going on in some parts of the country, and increasingly aggressive environmental initiatives, etc.

I’m curious what kind of economic forecast or prospectus you have for the industry? I’m not sure if this is information anyone can truly foresee - nevertheless, I’m curious to know if the airlines have learned lessons from prior hard times. What are the expected hardships for the near future (if any)? Are “shortages” and “cutbacks” of any kind anticipated over the coming years? How do the airlines plan to handle increasing environmental and political demands on air travel? Where do you read or receive accurate and sound information on the industry at large?

Obviously, the long-term economic outlook of the industry will greatly impact all pilots, but particularly new pilots with 0 seniority and high debt.

Just curious! Thanks so much! (Sorry all my posts are kind of negative #debbiedowner)


If you’re as avid as you say then you know the industry is currently recovering what is considered by many to be the most devastating event that we’ve ever encountered. Worse than 9/11 (economically speaking), worse the 2008 recession which brought oil to $160 barrel. We’re still here. Bookings are up and most carriers are no longer bleeding cash. The World needs to travel and there will always be commercial aviation.

That all said if you had just finished building your 1500hrs last March or had just gotten a class date at a Regional it was not a good time. Pilots that were hoping for a quick upgrade or aircraft change will now be waiting much longer than they had anticipated. I know one young man who had a Capt upgrade class scheduled. He’s now trying to sell his Rolex and the BMW he bought to congratulate himself. If you’re looking for a career with a tremendous amount of stability this is not it. While the airlines will never go away they are very sensitive to the economy. This is why I always recommend having a passion for it. If you do you’ll always find a job flying and will be happy doing what you love. But if that passion is dependent on being a 787 Capt with Delta by 35 you might want to give this more thoughts. There are literally zero guarantees and getting hired a month in either direction could dramatically impact your career. While some people have a fear of flying that can often be the least scary aspect of this career.




None of us have crystal balls here, but what I can tell you is that the industry is resilient. My airline, United, is investing in bio fuels and electric airplanes to meet environmental demands. Whether those will work or not is still a question, but research is the first step.

Currently there is a fuel shortage on the east coast, but we will get past that.

People want to fly, even Covid only had a short term reduction on air travel demand. There is a basic human desire to see new places, reconnect with friends and have new experiences. That has not changed and in my humble opinion never will. The airlines will respond and adapt, just as they always have.



People still want to get the heck out of the house…
Europe is still very much off limits…

So where people gonna travel?
Answer, likely to domestic vacation spots!

Aspen hotels are getting 35% bookings for this summer, their 2019 # was 25%. That means this is likely the busiest summer Aspen ever had!

I believe current TSA #s are around 60% of 2019. Vast majority of that is domestic.

Airlines are here to stay, only thing that changes is who the players are and how they operate to adapt to changing demand.

Chris F


Hi, I thought I’d also share these airline industry slides I came across (from Dec 2020)… the last few slides show the growth in domestic leisure routes
Whats Next in Airlines Slides.pdf (1.9 MB)



Thank you for sharing!


1 Like