Wanted! 100,000 pilots in China

Chinese airlines will need a large number of new pilots to support their growth. Photo credit – Pixabay

Wanted! 100,000 pilots in China

The rapid growth of China’s air travel market has posed a challenge for airlines to recruit enough pilots.

Most estimates place the number of new pilots required in the country to be over 100,000 by 2025.

This is a global problem, but one that might have an exponential impact in China given how quickly its airlines are planning to grow.

It takes a minimum of 16 months to train a new airline First Officer from scratch, and costs over $100,000, so the issue can’t be solved easily, quickly or cheaply.

Solutions are, however, on the horizon.

Chinese companies are making significant investments in flight schools both at home and overseas.

They’re also investing in the latest generation of training aircraft for student pilots.

For example, in March, we reported that manufacturer Piper had signed a $75 million deal with a Chinese company.

The agreement will see Sichuan Fan-Mei Aviation Technologies purchase 152 Piper Archer single-engine training planes.


Earlier, we reported that  Wanfeng Aviation had purchased specialist light aircraft manufacturer Diamond.

The Chinese company already held a 60 percent stake in Diamond, which is an Austrian headquartered company, with significant operations in Ontario, Canada.

Diamond are responsible for a number of popular training models, including the DA 42, a hugely successful twin-engined light aircraft.

Rupert Reid

Pilot and Senior Broadcast Journalist at Panda Radio. You can find him on Twitter @rupertreid