2022: A Record Year for Pilot Production in the United States – Pilot Supply Continues to Outpace Demand

The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) today released updated data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) showing that from January through November 2022, there were 8,805 commercial airline pilot certificates (ATP-MELs) issued, once again exceeding analyst forecasts and airline demand for new aviators—and putting the U.S. on pace to break pilot production records this year. In addition to the impressive pilot production numbers, there were a total of 86,774 certified flight instructors, roughly 10 percent more than at the end of 2019, further demonstrating that the commercial airline pilot pipeline remains strong and robust. 

“The pilot-production pipeline is strong, the aviation industry continues its recovery—and it has never been a better time to become a professional aviator,” said Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA president. “Many regional carriers are raising wages and offering viable career paths; mainline airlines are hiring; and lawmakers have resisted efforts by the special interests to weaken pilot safety training standards. We can—and must—demand both safe skies and strong contracts.”

According to Boeing’s most recent pilot outlook, the United States is well positioned to produce the projected 6,400 airline pilots needed each year to keep up with current demand. However, despite the ongoing strong growth in the number of pilots available, some in the industry continue to blame profit-driven service cuts on a lack of available pilots. By creating a diversion, they hope to weaken lifesaving pilot-training safety standards so they can hire less-qualified aviators for lower pay and benefits. 

“The misinformation and redirection by special interest groups in Washington is deadly serious business. Despite a record reduction in airline fatalities since pilot-training standards were strengthened, some are still trying to roll back the clock and lower safety requirements for aviation operations, all so they can make a quick buck or wriggle out of a contract to serve smaller American communities. The FAA’s numbers make it clear that qualified pilots are in abundant supply; what we have a shortage of is airline CEOs willing to own their business decisions to cut service so they can increase their profits,” added DePete.  

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