Study finds interest in cargo piloting careers is climbing

  • Nina Chamlou
  • May 17, 2018
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There may be a looming pilot shortage that has developed in the cargo industry over the last decade, but according to a study by the University of North Dakota (UND), there may be some cause for optimism. Student enrollment of both private and commercial pilot certifications, the report found, are up for the second year in a row.

The Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA) analyzed the UND study, noting the students’ preferential differences. 46.2 percent of student pilots are “somewhat” to “very” unlikely to pursue a career in cargo. When prompted to comment on why, students mentioned the lower compensation associated with flying cargo, and a perceived lower quality of life, whereas commercial piloting jobs offer higher salaries and more daytime-oriented schedules.

The study also noted a shift in students’ strategies, finding that they are accumulating more flying hours while enrolled in school, causing the gap between students’ graduation and their applications for restricted airline transport pilot certificates (R-ATPs) to shrink from an average of two years to just 37 days.

Interest in piloting careers is finally picking up steam, but there are still hurdles to overcome. The high cost associated with attaining flight-hours is the main barrier of entry preventing an influx of new pilots that the industry is desperately in need of.

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