The air cargo sector will also demand more pilots in the coming years

The demand for commercial pilots is also in addition to air cargo pilots. This sector is constantly growing, mainly due to the growth of e-commerce. And as usual, this growth also poses certain drawbacks. Increase of the salaries and fuel prices, as well as trade war, fuel uncertainty.

International air cargo traffic is estimated to triple over the next 20 years, with some 150 million tonnes of goods being transported worldwide by 2035.

In Spain, airports such as Zaragoza – with a great increase in weight caused mainly by the textile sector-, Barcelona-El Prat with a specific weight very outstanding place in the segment of refrigerated, pharmaceutical and electronic sector; and Madrid-Barajas, which has experienced, compared to April last year, an increase of 3% managing about 51% of the total air goods transported on the Aena airport network.

The growth of e-commerce is the main reason for this increase in air cargo transport, but today, in the globalized world in which we live, there are also other very common and increasing goods like fruit, fish, flowers, press, medicines, machinery parts…

It should also be said that aircraft have evolved in terms of their capacity. In the 1940s, aircraft could not carry more than 3 tons. Nowadays, a Boeing 747-8 can load 120 tons. In Spain, the cargo market is dominated by Iberia, followed by Swiftair. In any case, traffic in Spain accounts for only 5% of the European. Internationally, the largest airline carrier is Fedex, followed by Emirates and UPS.

Against this background, the professional departure provides to the air cargo pilot is important and attractive. Much of the segment opens to long haul (intercontinental) transportation, which requires two or more full crews for each flight, depending on its duration and to accommodate the working day to labor regulations. It is the case of covered routes with a large aircraft such as B747, A330, B777 freigther, or shortly with the remodeled A380 “Cargo”.

Another important work exit is provided by small or medium-sized aircraft – Metroliner, ATR…- used on short or medium routes and in the small parcel that is the basis of the business of companies such as Seur, MRW or even Amazon.

As a whole, air transport becomes an interesting future option for the pilot. According to manufacturers such as Boeing, air cargo and aircraft and pilot needs for this segment will have doubled by 2038. In addition, Boeing projects that an additional 2650 freighters will be needed during this period. Of these freighters, it is estimated that 980 are new medium and large in size and the remaining 1670 are converted freighters.

This projection is closely linked to the growth of e-commerce, which may increase by 20% per year in the coming years, in addition to the growing Chinese market.

To meet this demand, according to Boeing, the global freighter fleet must expand by more than 70%. Demand for regional express parcel services will also boost the quota of standard fuselage freighters, up to a total of 1170 units.

On the other hand, Airbus also makes a similar projection to Boeing. It is note worthy that within 20 years the global fleet of aircraft will have doubled. This calculation was based on forecasts of growth in private consumption in emerging countries during this period, due to increased incomes and middle-class growth. According to Airbus, more than 60% of growth will come from emerging countries, and in these countries the number of trips will increase by 2.5 per person.

Finally, Aribus estimates that it will take 540,000 new pilots over the next 20 years to meet the increase in demand, both commercially and air cargo.