Last month, Boeing released its hotly anticipated annual forecast, with demand numbers that are oft repeated in workforce development circles. Indeed, ATEC’s annual Pipeline Report relies heavily on Boeing’s personnel projections when calculating its mechanic supply targets.
In its 2022-2041 Pilot and Technician Outlook, Boeing projects that over the next 20 years, commercial aviation will need 610,000 new maintenance technicians to maintain the global commercial aviation fleet—134,000 of those in North America.
Readers will remember a significant drop in last year’s forecasted demand due to the removal of business aviation and civil helicopter personnel needs from the report’s calculation. This year’s report makes that same exclusion and also eliminates Russian personnel projections, given continued unrest in that region.
If we carry over those same exclusions to previous year forecasts (allowing an apple-to-apple comparison), we’ll find that commercial technician demand has actually increased over the last three years, both globally and in North America. Indeed, demand in North America has increased at an average annual rate of 3% since 2019.
The big takeaway for FAA-certificated maintenance programs is this: The forecasted demand for maintenance technicians continues its multi-year climb despite pandemic impacts. Boeing’s 2022-2041 Pilot Technician Outlook projects that the North American market will need 134,000 new technicians to support fleet operators and providers of maintenance, repair, and overhaul services. Forecasted demand for commercial aviation technicians in North America has eclipsed pre-pandemic levels by nearly 10%.
One other takeaway succinctly stated in the Boeing report: “The combination of fleet growth, attrition, and replacement will continue to drive high demand for the foreseeable future.” The statement reinforces the message that education and industry must continue to innovate in the aviation technician education space to not only replace those that have left the industry since the pandemic started, but also to meet new demand.
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