The 2019 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook predicts that 769,000 new maintenance technicians are needed to maintain the world fleet over the next two decades. 

According to MRO, the forecast includes the needs of commercial aviation, business aviation and civil helicopters.  

The demand has risen as a result of the increase in fleet growth, attrition, and more importantly, retirements. As several hundred thousand technicians reach the age of retirement over the next ten years, the need for educational outreach and career pathway programs will be essential to recruiting the next generation of mechanics, forecasters say. 

The pattern of new mechanic needs varies across different regions, according to each region’s current traffic and the expected economic growth for the future.

North America, for example, whose economy is forecast to grow at 1.9% per annum, will require 193,000 new mechanics, and Latin America will need 52,000 to support 2.9% growth per year, Boeing forecasters estimate.

Asia-Pacific, growing 3.9% a year, will need 266,000 new mechanics. Europe, forecasters say, is growing at a slower 1.6% rate, and will need 137,000.

The Middle East must recruit 69,000 new mechanics to support 3.2% annual growth. Russia and Central Asia will need 25,000 for 2.0% growth, and Africa requires 27,000 for its predicted 3.4% annual economic growth.

In order to match the needs of the industry, Boeing argues aviation must adopt more innovative training to optimise learning and knowledge retention. New technologies, adaptive learning, flexibility re schedules and newer, more innovative teaching methods are needed. Instructors will also need cross-cultural, cross-generational and multilingual skills to engage the younger workforce.

Advances in airplane technology will see demand for new skills increase, including digital troubleshooting and composite repair. Mechanics will require training in both new and legacy aircraft. 

Mobile and distance learning will take preference over traditional classroom instruction and allow students to study in environments separate to the classroom. New technologies, such as augmented and mixed reality, are also being tested, Boeing notes. And competency-based maintenance training will evolve to focus on individual needs and knowledge gaps. 

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