Tips for Supply Chains in Crisis
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As the infamous truck driver shortage continues like an endless long haul, companies with products to move are nervously eyeing the future. The expansion of e-commerce and the increasing consumer demands only make the driver shortage much more imperative for shippers to solve. Unfortunately, there’s another shortage in the supply chain that isn’t snagging as many headlines but will affect your supply chain just as much. Companies that rely on air freight may want to buckle up: there’s structural turbulence at 20,000 feet in the form of a pilot shortage.
An Airborne Crisis on Two Fronts
This shortage is being seen in both the airline and the cargo industries. With such a small pool of applicants to choose from, these two sectors are battling to get the most qualified available candidates. Many pilots are increasingly being wooed to get behind the controls of passenger planes over cargo flights—frankly, it’s tough to compete with jobs perks like fixed schedules and free flights for your family across the world.
This is no anecdotal pilot shortage, either—the same problems are found on a global scale, with Boeing estimating an incredible shortage of 790,000 or more pilots across the world over the next two decades. In the shorter term, the domestic industry can expect more than 8,000 unfilled vacancies per year by 2020, and five years later that number could be higher than 12,000 pilot-less flights in need of help. This spells trouble for your supply chain because even if you don’t personally rely on flight to get items delivered, chances are at least one of your key suppliers does.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Tomas Reuss
Just as we’ve found with the truck driver shortage, the impetus behind skilled labor leaving is many-fold. Demographics play a large role—a massive amount of pilots are expected to hang up their hats in the next few years as they reach the mandatory commercial pilot retirement age of 65. And there’s no large group of applicants sitting waiting to replace them.This is likely because it’s becoming considerably more difficult to obtain a pilot license than it was ten years ago. After a 2009 Colgan Air crash, the US Federal Aviation Administration raised the requirements for an ATP certificate from 250 hours to a whopping 1,500 hours of training.