LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — Rising Demand vs. Retiring Engineers: The Dilemma Facing the Aviation Industry.

The aviation industry is facing a critical engineer shortage, threatening affordable summer vacations as companies fear prolonged downtime of passenger jets. Boeing and Airbus project the need for over 600,000 engineers in the next 20 years to keep up with increasing demand.

An insufficient number of engineers could potentially lead to a reduction in planes and passenger seats, in turn increasing the cost of flight tickets. Recruitment firm AeroProfessional reports that more than a quarter of engineers are expected to retire in the coming decade.

"The lack of aircraft engineers is already affecting output and it's expected to worsen," stated Sam Sprules, managing director at AeroProfessional. Contributing factors to the problem include lower wages compared to similar industries and a lengthy training period that can span seven years.

In the wake of Brexit, the United Kingdom faces additional challenges. Aircraft engineer licenses issued by UK authorities are no longer recognized in continental Europe, leading to limited access to European Union engineers for UK aviation businesses.

Increasingly older global aircraft fleets necessitate heightened servicing. AeroProfessional projects that maintenance-intensive planes in the global fleet will not see significant reduction until 2040.

Airbus predicts the number of worldwide annual passengers will double to 9 billion by 2041. This surge will require 2 million new aviation personnel, 34% of which—about 680,000—will be engineers. Boeing, on the other hand, anticipates the need for an additional 610,000 maintenance technicians.

"Technicians are essential to operational safety and they support the industry's recovery. However, in some instances, they're spread too thin," stated an American planemaker in its 2022 outlook. They emphasized that retirements will increase over the next five to ten years as the workforce ages and the inflow of new entrants slows.

According to AeroProfessional, addressing the gender imbalance in the aviation engineering sector could alleviate the labor shortage over the next 20 years. Women in Aviation International reports that just 2.6% of aircraft engineers are women.

AeroProfessional referenced a 2017 Microsoft study stating, “One of the main reasons girls choose not to pursue careers in STEM is the lack of female role models." The company stressed the need for industry efforts to address gender equality issues, promote awareness, and encourage female participation.