A new poll indicates that over one third of the world’s qualified pilots are currently out of work, likely as a result of reduced travel during the ongoing CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
A new survey conducted by GOOSE Recruitment, in tandem with industry publication FlightGlobal, indicated that only 62 percent of pilots are currently employed, with 20 percent unemployed and 6 percent currently on furlough.
The figures from the global survey constitute a marked improvement from last year, when only 43 percent of pilots were reportedly employed, with a much higher 17 percent on furlough.
The survey attested to significant regional variation, generally correlating with the degree of travel restrictions by local governments. In the United States, 81 percent of pilots are employed; in the Asia-Pacific region (China excluded), that number is a measly 53 percent—likely as a result of harsher border restrictions and mandatory quarantines.
The results also indicated a widespread ambivalence about the future of the industry. Among the pilots who responded, 37 percent, if given their time again, said they would not have become pilots, with a majority (55 percent) saying that they would not recommend their career to young people. However, a majority, 60 percent, responded that they believed the flight industry will make a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels within one or two years.
The airline industry is among those most decimated by the CCP virus pandemic, as government-imposed travel restrictions and individual anxieties about contagion reduced air traffic by as much as 60 percent in January 2021. The industry has taken tentative steps toward recovery as the CCP virus trends toward endemicity, but this process has been retarded by newer, more contagious variants with unknown lethality and inconsistent state-imposed restrictions.
While this year’s FlightGlobal survey indicates significant improvement from the same survey last year, it is a reminder of how far the industry still has to go to make a full recovery, with its essential pilots left in a state of limbo until such progress can be made.