ICAO recently hosted a five-day event addressing the challenge posed by an anticipated shortage of skilled aviation professionals. Representatives from States, industry, training institutions and students defined and quantified the problem, proposed approaches to solve the problem and outlined the leadership role of ICAO in generating cooperation among concerned stakeholders towards reaching and implementing solutions.
- In the next 20 years, airlines will have to add 25,000 new aircraft to the current 17,000-strong commercial fleet
- By 2026, we will need 480,000 new technicians to maintain these aircraft and over 350,000 pilots to fly them
- Between 2005 and 2015, 73% of the American air traffic controller population is eligible for retirement
The underlying problem
Simply stated, the demand for aviation professionals will exceed supply. Factors include:
- wholesale retirements in the current generation of aviation professionals
- aviation professions not attractive enough to potential candidates
- competition with other industry sectors for skilled employees
- training capacity insufficient to meet demand
- learning methodologies not responsive to new evolving learning style
- accessibility to affordable training
- lack of harmonization of competencies in some aviation disciplines, and
- little awareness by the “next generation” of types of aviation professions available.
Solutions must be globally-harmonized in nature and include human resource planning tools, accredited training and educational programmes adapted to the next generation, and wide-ranging cooperation among concerned stakeholders.
ICAO’s role in solving the problem and moving forward
In 2009, ICAO established the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Taskforce, consisting of 29 representatives from industry, education and training providers, regulatory bodies and international organizations. Near-term objectives are to: inventory human resources planning data; identify and support initiatives to reach out to the next generation; and, find ways to harmonize training regulations. The Task Force will also support initiatives relating to the next generation of aviation professionals.
ICAO and the International Air transport Association (IATA) are collaborating on this issue, generating synergy between ICAO’s Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Taskforce and IATA’s Training and Qualification Initiative (ITQI). IATA is supportive of global harmonized standards and will be implementing evidence-based training and as well as competency-based training for engineering and maintenance.
Looking ahead, the following are planned:
- In 2010, ICAO will develop a new training policy that will allow the Organization to endorse aviation training institutions by 2011.
- By the end of 2011, the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Taskforce will complete the development of competencies for most of the Annex 1 (Personnel Licensing) functions including: airline transport pilots (ATPLs), air traffic controllers, and maintenance.
Along with all aviation training stakeholders, ICAO is committed to creating an environment that will allow the next generation to lead in the development of aviation’s future. This includes maintaining active lines of communication with the students as the Next Generation of Aviation professionals.
All presentations made at the Symposium are available on the ICAO website : www.icao.int