There is currently a worldwide shortage of pilots. With current pilots taking retirement, and more to follow in the coming years, there are just not enough qualified pilots to fill the jobs left behind by those leaving the industry and the extra positions created by the growth in the aviation business. As airlines increase their fleet sizes, there’s a distinct need for more trained pilots to ensure growth can continue unhindered by a lack of trained crew. Reports state that over the next 20 years, there will be a need for a further 800 thousand new pilots, and therefore a strong need for flight training.

China leading the way to fulfill demand for flight training

China is keen to train new pilots to ensure that the pilot shortage doesn’t affect their aviation industry in the future and is actively encouraging young people to train for these positions. The country is particularly keen to ensure that women as well as men follow this path, with only one percent of Chinese pilots being female, a trend they hope to change. However the country doesn’t have enough pilot flight training schools to accommodate all the students who wish to follow this career course. China has only 12 accredited flight schools in the entire country, and so several alternatives have been sought out.

Flight training: Chinese pilots training in the US

So one solution for Chinese pilots, that has proved to be very popular, is to train in the US. Mark Johnson, chief operation officer of the Pan Am flying school in Kissimmee, Florida, states that there has been a marked increase in applications for the school from students in Asia. For the students, there are several advantages to flight training in the US. Financially, it is beneficial. Pilot training comes at a huge cost, and to become a commercial pilot, 1,500 flight hours must be attained which is expensive, particularly for students. Flight training in the US is more affordable than flight training back home in China. In addition, it’s the perfect situation for foreign students to improve their English skills, a language which it is vital to be fluent in when one works within the aviation industry. Despite the US and China trade war, many students are successful with their applications to study within the US.

China is buying training schools in Australia

It’s not just in the US where Chinese pilots are finding their training opportunities. Chinese businesses are buying up flight schools throughout Australia and using the facilities to train Chinese pilots. Australian aviation experts are concerned that the Chinese owned schools are not training enough Australian pilots and see this as the start of the decline of Australian aviation. Ben Morgan, CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has stated that Australian businesses simply cannot compete with the Chinese investors and that the aviation industry within Australia has now become uneconomic.

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