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Asia short on pilots: Boeing
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Sept 19, 2011

Asia-Pacific's booming aviation sector is facing a serious pilot shortfall with some carriers forced to cut flights and ground new planes because of the gap, US aviation giant Boeing said Monday.

The region will need more than 180,000 in extra pilots and almost 250,000 new technicians over the next two decades to meet demand, with China facing the most pressing shortfalls, it said.

Currently there are about 60,000 pilots and 46,000 technicians in Asia-Pacific.

"The question is where will (airlines) get all of these people and how?" Roei Ganzarski, chief customer officer of Boeing's Flight Services unit, told reporters in Hong Kong.

"Some airlines have grounded flights or reduced flights (due to the shortage)...(carriers) have had to ground brand new airplanes."

He did not name any carriers but said countries affected by the shortfall included India, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Shortages were also happening in other regions, and the global aviation sector needed more than one million pilots and technicians by 2030, but tight supply was most acute in Asia, Ganzarski added.

Earlier this month, Boeing said China would need 5,000 new planes worth $600 billion by 2030 -- raising a previous forecast of 4,330 planes by 2029 -- as growing wealth among the middle class triggers an air travel boom.

A total of 267 million air passenger trips were recorded in the country in 2010, up 15.8 percent from the previous year, official figures show.

The fastest growing markets for international passenger traffic during the 2009-2014 period will be China, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, according to The International Air Transport Association.

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