Pilot Shortages Proliferating
Pilot staffing shortages continue to pose financial and operational risks to global airlines. Predictably, these limitations are beginning to impact utilization and asset optimization in several regions, particularly Asia and North America. In a recent article on Emirates Airlines, the Mideast carrier announced plans to ground 20 wide-body aircraft. This nearly eight percent reduction in flying opportunities involves fourteen Boeing 777 and six Airbus A380 aircraft. Proliferating in other regions, is now time to reexamine decades-long assumptions on methods to address this phenomena more strategically?
Obstacle or Opportunity?
As seen in other news sources, pilot shortages appear to be a sustained challenge for airlines around the globe. For CFOs, COOs, investors, banks and lessors, are the usual tactics proving sufficient to ensure consistent and predictable results? Unsurprisingly, investors and shareholders are undoubtedly looking for solutions that provide financial stability and growth opportunities. A long-term, sustainable supply-chain for pilots and maintenance technicians is a pressing imperative that requires a pivot in airline thinking. Reducing uncertainty will require innovative solutions that create long-term value and reduce financial risks. Consequently, emerging thinking is needed to create continuity using different models to ensure control of brands, reputations and balance sheets.
Better Managing Human Capital
This current period of sustained, robust economic activity provides an opportunity to reorient thinking toward the long-term. Obviously, human capital presents challenges for the near-term; however, airline leaders must prepare now for the future. Qualified pilots and maintenance technicians are available around the globe. However, many airlines attempt to address their needs in an ad hoc manner with mixed results. Every airline and region presents different challenges and opportunities. A newer, more agile approach in thinking can provide stability for the future. Thus, the time is now for industry-wide thought leadership to ensure continued, predictable asset optimization. Customers, lenders, lessors, owners and airline leaders should demand this pivot now to create long-term solutions.