Rising air passenger numbers could leave the aviation industry facing a critical skills shortage, a Dublin conference has been told.
The number of flights is set to grow to 60 million a year by 2030, according to Raymond Benjamin of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The "sobering numbers" give the aviation industry just 15 years to replace an entire generation of staff while coping with a doubling of capacity, he said.
A "critical" skills and training gap now looms. "As the baby-boomer generation comes due for retirement, we are faced today with the challenge of replacing one generation of technical professionals with another, and this is not a simple task," Mr. Benjamin said.
The potential shortage includes pilots, air traffic controllers, engineers and mechanics, as well as the need to accelerate training and certification for these aviation professionals and the new managers who will need to lead them.
The ICAO Secretary General was speaking at the Global Aviation Training (GAT) Symposium, which is taking place in Malahide this week. The Symposium is backed by ICAO, the UN body that sets global aviation standards, and hosted by the Dublin International Aviation Training Academy (DIATA). DIATA is a subsidiary of daa, which manages Dublin and Cork airports.
Almost 400 delegates from 71 countries are attending the symposium, which is focused on meeting the staffing and training requirements of the booming international aviation sector.
Faced with a potential shortage of skilled staff, the ICAO has launched a major initiative - entitled the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) - to ensure there will be enough qualified and competent aviation staff available to address the shortfall.
The aviation industry’s main priority in the coming years will be “to maintain and improve the safety and security of air transport operations,” Mr Benjamin said. Through DIATA, a fully accredited ICAO Trainair Plus Gold Member and Gold Trainair Plus training centre, daa believes it could play a central role in helping to plug the skills gap.
“Ireland is a major global location for aviation leasing and we believe it also has the potential to become a significant base for international aviation training in the coming years,” said daa Chief Executive Kevin Toland. “Through DIATA, daa is assisting ICAO and other agencies to deliver a significant improvement in aviation training programmes,” he added. The GAT Symposium, which was opened by Mr Benjamin yesterday, runs to Thursday. Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary is scheduled to give its closing address, outlining his views on the future of air transport from the perspective of one of the world’s largest low cost carriers.
The CareersPortal Team