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Airbus, Boeing Make Annual Workforce Predictions

Workforce projections by Boeing and Airbus see greatest growth—and need—in Asia-Pacific and North America.

 754,000: That is the number of new maintenance technicians The Boeing Co. predicts will be required to maintain the commercial, business aviation and helicopter fleets over the next 20 years. The Asia-Pacific region will have the greatest demand, claiming 34% of technicians worldwide, followed closely by the U.S. at 25%.

This is the first time Boeing has considered helicopter and business aviation workforce needs in its forecast; in past years, the outlook only included predicted demand for the commercial sector. Company officials have said they want to provide a more holistic view, given the tight labor market and implications it has across the entire industry. Missing is an account of general aviation needs, something the manufacturer could consider for future iterations.

The report also highlights the growing need for specialized training in avionics, composites and digital troubleshooting, as new-generation aircraft increase their share of the worldwide fleet. Keith Cooper, vice president of training and professional services, underscored the importance of ensuring that training keeps pace with innovation. “We’re focused on aligning our training solutions to the way people learn, not just the way we know how to teach,” he says. “We are better integrating the systems and services portions of our offerings to fully address customer needs. Innovation sits at the heart of everything we do.”

The Boeing report comes in the wake of Airbus’ annual forecast release, which anticipates a doubling of the world’s commercial aircraft fleet by 2037. Airbus projects a need for 630,000 new technicians in the next 20 years—up from the company’s 2017-36 estimate of 550,000. The seemingly lower number for Airbus is at least partially attributable to Boeing’s inclusion of the rotor and business aviation sectors in its analysis.

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