The aviation industry is forecast to need more than 500,000 new pilots over the next 20 years to meet demand for international travel.
Boeing says nearly 27,000 newly qualified pilots will be required each year until 2033 – a total of 533,000 – to take the controls of the growing fleet of passenger jets.
Broken down by geographical demand, the fast-growing economies of South-East Asia are expected to require the most pilots – 41pc of the global demand – as their populations become richer and people start travelling more.
According to Boeing, the Asia-Pacific region will require 216,000 pilots over the period; Europe will need 94,000; North America 88,000; Latin America 45,000; the Middle East 55,000; Africa 17,000; and Russia and the CIS 18,000.
Much of the demand is coming from Asia.
About 40% of new airplane deliveries will go to carriers in the region, according to Boeing. The company said more than 100 million new passengers will enter the Asian market each year for the “foreseeable future”. Budget air travel has proved a hit all over the world, but nowhere more so than in Asia.