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7 Billion and Counting

As the world population crosses the 7 billion mark, sustaining life as we know it is one cause for worry, but how does this rapid growth of the world’s peoples impact the aviation sector?

As the world population crosses the 7 billion mark, many worry about the planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it. Looking back, the world’s population reached the 1 billion mark in 1805, then exploded in the past two centuries. The population reached 2 billion people in 1927 and then doubled to 4 billion just 47 years later in 1974. Now only 12 years after reaching 6 billion on Oct. 12, 1999, the world has reached the 7 billion milestone.
This rapid growth of the world’s peoples also has consequences for the aviation sector. The world has seen game-changing technological innovations, but keeping up with the demand for air travel will challenge aviation professionals to the mettle.
Despite the sluggish world economy and volatile fuel costs, Boeing reported that global passenger air traffic rose 8 percent in 2010, and is expected to grow by 6 percent in 2011. Boeing also forecasts that the growth rate will remain at or above the historical trend of 5 percent per year through the middle of the decade.
Boeing’s long-range forecast for 2011 anticipates delivery of 33,500 new airplanes over the next 20 years. The forecast details demand for passenger and freighter airplanes, both for fleet growth and for replacement of airplanes that retire during the forecast period. Airbus’ forecasts are pretty similar.
In the address by the Secretary General of ICAO, Mr. Raymond Benjamin, to the First NGAP/TRAINAIR Plus Regional Conference in Seoul, on 30 March 2011, he estimate that the number of commercially-operated aircraft will jump from about 62,000 today to some 152,000 in 2030. During the same period, between 2010 and 2030, ICAO expect the number of aircraft movements to increase from 26 million annually to close to 52 million.
Given the already short supply of aviation professionals, the implications of a growing world population and air travel demand are clear. It is projected that the aviation community will at least have to double the number of air traffic controllers, pilots, engineers and others that are essential to the safe and efficient operation of the global air transport system.
An ICAO survey estimates the potential global shortage over a 20-year period at 160,000 in the case of pilots, 360,000 for maintenance personnel and 40,000 for air traffic controllers, for a grand total of 560,000.
One thing that is certain is that choosing a career in aviation will certainly increase security of tenure, while the community grapple with meeting the world’s demand for more professionals.
What’s the forecast for air traffic and aviation professionals in your country?
Seven Billion
Created by: Masters Degree Online

About Wayne Farley

I am Wayne, a career air traffic controller. Engage me while I share my thoughts, experience, and news from around the aviation world. A post titled “13 Characteristics of an Air Traffic Controller” written in 2010 went viral and established me as the unofficial ambassador of ATC.

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