Airlines face skills shortage as capacity doubles

Industry leader warns that aviation must replace ‘one generation of technical staff with another’

Airlines are facing a critical skills shortage as it seeks to replace a generation of staff and cope with a doubling of capacity over the next 15 years, one industry leader warned on Tuesday.

Secretary general of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Raymond Benjamin, told a conference in Dublin that the number of passengers is expected to double to six billion by 2030 while the number of flights will grow to 60 million a year over the same period.

He noted that these were “sobering numbers” given the workforce that would be needed to operate the additional flights.

“As the baby-boomer generation comes due for retirement, we are faced today with the challenge of replacing one generation of technical professionals with another, and this is not a simple task,” he warned.


Mr Benjamin said that the industry’s main priority through this period of growth would be to maintain and improve the safety and security of air transport.

The ICAO is a United Nations body that sets international aviation standards. Mr Benjamin was speaking at the Gobal Aviation Training (GAT) symposium at Malahide in north Co Dublin.

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) chief executive, Kevin Toland, told the gathering that he believed the Republic could become a centre for training for the industry.

“Ireland is a major global location for aviation leasing and we believe it also has the potential to become a significant base for international aviation training in the coming years,” he said.

DAA subsidiary, Dublin International Aviation Training Academy, which hosted the symposium, is becoming a significant player in training.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas