Gov't, airlines discuss measures to deal with pilot shortage


The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and several Japanese airlines have established a special committee to discuss countermeasures to resolve the serious shortage of pilots.

Peach Aviation Ltd, a joint venture backed by Japan's largest airline, ANA Holdings, canceled more than 2,000 flights this year, 16% of its planned total. Budget carriers Jetstar Japan and Vanilla Air have also cancelled hundreds of flights this summer, a government report on pilot shortages showed.

By 2030, a large number of commercial pilots will be retiring from service. As such, the need to train a new group of pilots has become an important issue.

Transport ministry official Akihiko Nakamura told reporters after the committee's first meeting that it is imperative for the ministry and the airlines to work together in order to increase the number of and well-trained pilots, Sankei Shimbun reported Friday.

One suggestion being considered is to provide scholarships to individuals seeking to obtain their pilot's license from private universities where tuition can exceed 20 million or more yen.

The U.N.'s aviation agency warned two years ago that demand for pilots is expected to double by 2030, with the shortage of crew particularly acute in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where the markets are expanding rapidly.

In 2010, there were an estimated 460,000 licensed pilots in the world but more than 980,000 are expected to be needed by 2030, the International Civil Aviation Organization said.

"There aren't enough captains and training one takes time and money," said a Peach Aviation spokesman.

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The industry created this mess themselves. In the wake of 9/11, the airlines worldwide promptly fired thousands of pilots and thousands more mechanics and other specialists. They've since retired and young people at the time gave the industry a miss.

Then the corporations cut benefits and wages for the existing staffers. JAL recruited cabin staff from cheap 3rd world nations on cheap short-term contracts. In LA, pilots and skilled technicians were living in a trailer park.

When the labor unions were stronger, we didn't have this fiasco. The industry created this mess, the industry can fix it...with NO help from our tax money, thank you very much.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The pilots union also put Braniff and other airlines out of business.

Deregulation of the industry created the tight margins in the industry and contributed to the lousy service and packed planes of today. It also created the lack of pilots because pilots are expected now to pay for their own training, where the airlines used to pay for the upgrade training after a pilot was in their program.

The major pipeline for commercial pilots has always been from the military. Japan has always contracted pilots from other countries because there have never been enough pilots here. They contracted most of the Eastern Airlines and Braniff pilots when they went bankrupt.

The pilots were trained at taxpayer expense for the military. Many would leave after 6-8 years and enter the private sector where pay was higher and the work less demanding. There was always a supply of young people signing up for flight school in the military.

The military has increased pay so much that they make more in the military than in civilian work now. A young pilot (early 30's) in the military would have to make close to $200,000 per year in the civilian world to have the same standard of living as in the military now when you total up all the untaxed perks, e.g. flight pay, cost of living allowances, housing allowances, free health, dental and eye care, tax-free shopping, allowances for dependents, etc.

So, you could also say that the endless wars have reduced the supply of pilots for the airlines.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I can see a future where passenger planes are drones and pilots are sitting a building in some remote location and only used at take off and landing then to monitor multiple flights.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

wildwest: I can see a future where passenger planes are drones and pilots are sitting a building in some remote location and only used at take off and landing then to monitor multiple flights.

I can see it, too, but without pilots. And with less accidents.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@wild & turbo they are already developing pilot-less planes flown totally by computer, theyll end up flying just cargo over unpopulated areas to stat with then when the safety assured theyll start passenger flights, still another 20-30 years away

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@wtfjapan, thanks, that's nice to hear. I think they might get there sooner, Google just said heck with Amazon, Google's been working on sales drones for 2 years. Their self-driving car prototypes getting along pretty well so far.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

With self-driving cars on the horizon, maybe self-flying planes is the way to go - wait a minute, are not those Predator & Global Hawk drones mostly self-flying? I know they have a remote pilot nestled somewhere controlling the flight & releasing the missiles, but surely a lot of the functions are automated.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's very simple: if the airlines want more pilots they can train them themselves. There isn't some magic, undiscovered pool of pilots somewhere.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not sure why this is a government issue, if the airlines can not manage themselves they will fail. Does the J gov get involved when the conbini can not find staff? I doubt it....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Pay them more. A JAL pilot gets a ¥20m salary, yet an airline like Qantas pays ¥50m (Qantas is not doing so well, though).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Pay them more. A JAL pilot gets a ¥20m salary, yet an airline like Qantas pays ¥50m (Qantas is not doing so well, though).

No pilot makes over A$150,000 in Australia and the national average is A$72,000.

Here are the monthly salaries in Japan: Capt top pay $15,068 Capt base pay USD $10,902/mo. FO top pay $8,885.00 FO base pay USD $7,212/mo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Wanted. Young man to travel to exotic places. Hours: not more than 85 a month. Salary: $5 million a career."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can't see an upside for pilots when companies are running their operations so cheaply. Also with fuel costs to go up and oil shortages expected when the American shale/fracking crashes then there's not a lot of flying that will go on anyway. Not much of a future

1 ( +2 / -1 )


No pilot makes over A$150,000 in Australia and the national average is A$72,000. Here are the monthly salaries in Japan: Capt top pay $15,068 Capt base pay USD $10,902/mo. FO top pay $8,885.00 FO base pay USD $7,212/mo.

Sorry to rain on your parade mate, but it looks like you haven't been back home in a while. A Holden factory worker earns $90,000 BASE salary for starters!

A Captain's base pay is well over $200,000 Second officers start on $150,000 1st years start on $90,000 The highest paid captain of an A380 gets $536,00 average - an A380 captain's wage is $415,000

(these numbers are going back a few years, so probably anywhere between 20% ~ 50% higher now)

Again, salaries in Japan are less than half of those in Australia. Given the cost of living there is also much higher, but my point still stands - ¥20m is too low by international standards.

For your reference:

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They only have 12 A380's. That isn't many captains.

With average crew experience and cockpit scheduling of Captain, FO, and SO for cruise relief pilot duties only on long haul flights (they don't land or take off), the average is under A$200,000.

I still don't think salary is a problem.

Japanese airlines have a training path that starts "cadets" out with lessons and ratings in the US. They simply can't find enough young people who want to fly anymore. It's a new generation of socially inept kids who want to hang around the house all day playing video games or tweeting on their smartphones.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Folks, the McDonaldization of so many jobs/industry controlled by bean counters for the 1%er's is driving a lot whats happening in todays world, its going to get scarier as time goes by!

Just think if there are no jobs for pilots a decade or two down the line...............just imagine how many others will be out of work, there will be some seriously scary crap coming down the pipes by those who constantly look at how they can SCREW those further down the food chain so they can ""earn"" their salaries.

I think its high time to make some robots to replace CEO's & the 1%er's NOW so there is some hope for the rest of humanity!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hello all. i feel no sympathy for them !! i hold an airline transport pilot license in the usa , canada and philippines. type rated in b737 and a320. flight dispatcher, flight engineer, advanced and instrument ground instructor, flight instructor multi engine and instrument airplane. 1st class medical r/telephone aviation,. i send resumes (cv) out like they were candy and very few even reply. if they do they ask how much time i have (how much experience flying i.e. the a320) and tell them 0 . well you need to start from somewhere. they say "sorry we only want pilots with experience" i offer to fly in the jumpseat as observer and then move to first officer after 50 sectors but they arent interested. its a catch 22.very short sighted on their part !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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