Monday, March 03, 2008

Freight Dog Future

I found an interesting (if not ironic) article at Air Cargo World.

”For airlines that normally depend on analyzing the basics of aircraft economics and market dynamics in assessing routes and strategies, a shortage of qualified pilots has provided a rude awakening to changes well outside the usual trade lanes. In Asia, where countries have seen an upheaval in trading patterns in recent years, finding pilots has emerged as one of they toughest issues for start-ups as well as incumbent airlines.

Marsha Bell, vice president of marketing of Alteon Training, the commercial training arm of Boeing, pointed to the growth rate of aviation in China, which basically sees a doubling of the commercial jet aircraft fleet in three years. Freighter operators in the region are helping feed that demand.“

Much further down in the article, you’ll find this statement.

”Bell agrees the profession has lost some of its luster, in part because of the cuts in numbers as well as in pilot benefits and remuneration in recent years. "We need to reinstall some of the romance and excitement that used to be associated with this job," she said.“

See what I mean about irony ? I wonder if “luster” means having your pension stolen, or working 14 hour days and then being furloughed ?

Those in the aviation business will find this a worthwhile read -- as long as you read between the lines.

”The situation is in danger of turning dire soon in Australia, according to Regional Express, the country's largest regional carrier. By its estimates, the country needs an additional 1,800 pilots over the coming two years but will probably train less than half of that.“

You’ve got to wonder -- where will all those pilots train ? Who will provide the training aircraft ? Where will they find the instructors ? Who will provide the air traffic control services ? Can you imagine what it would mean -- in air traffic control -- if most of the training was conducted in simulators and the first time these pilots talked to a controller was when they were flying a jet ?

Like I said, it’s an interesting article.

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