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Asia-Pacific Aviation Staffing Market Update 2022

  • Publish Date: Posted about 2 years ago
  • Author:by Lewis Purcell

With the Singapore Airshow kicking off on 15 February, we will no doubt see bold moves being made by airlines that are seeking to get ahead of the global pandemic recovery. Many operators are in growth mode will be looking to fill dormant routes as they become available. We consider the current aviation landscape in Asia-Pacific, and what factors will influence the decisions made by airlines at the airshow and in the coming months -

Easing restrictions
Across Asia-Pacific we are seeing governments taking measures to open borders for travellers, or to at least ease the hardest of restrictions. Many countries including Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia have eased restrictions in recent weeks, while governments like Australia and Singapore are increasingly comfortable relaxing testing requirements. New Zealand has set dates for the resumption of international travel, and the Pacific Islands are eager to resume the much need tourism that drive their economies. This trend of re-opening will no doubt keep driving an increase in aviation job creation.

Fluctuations in demand
While there is generally a positive forward momentum in travel and workforce engagement in Asia-Pacific, we will see returning restrictions as surges and new variants arise. However, governments are now experienced how to manage these situations and have better systems in place to manage the expectations of their citizens and healthcare systems. This means that overall passenger confidence is rising, and homesick travellers are more willing to make plans as they perceive a reduced risk in doing so. This will only seek to accelerate the return to normal operations for airlines and new positions for aviation personnel.

Increased narrowbody operations
While international travel is on road to recovery, airlines are still primarily focused on domestic revenue and connections with nearby neighboring countries. Where possible, they are utilizing narrowbody fleets to best manage their operating costs. The rising popularity of long haul narrowbody variants like the A321XLR, and a spate of widebody retirements, means that narrowbody crews on the likes of the A220, A320, B737, and Embraer will have a positive employment outlook in 2022. At Rishworth Aviation we are already seeing an increased demand on these fleets.

China – the sleeping Tiger
While Chinese airlines generally do not seem optimistic for border openings until at least 2023, China remains a critical player in the aviation labour market. This is not just through their demand for flight crew to operate with Chinese based airlines, but also through the increase in flight demands that Chinese travelers have on airlines outside of China. Any movement by China will likely have a large affect in the Asia-Pacific region, and the industry will keep a close eye on any signaling from Beijing.

A Need for Flexible Staffing Models
As global travel restrictions remain fluid, there will remain uncertainty from airlines about when and how to engage crews. Many airlines will now be considering Crew Leasing or Contract models to allow rapid deployment of aircraft and crews for defined periods of time. This is complemented by crews also being more open to work outside of their home countries, and on alternative working arrangements. The flexibility of these staffing models will be mutually beneficial between airlines and Pilots as more flying opportunities are created.

I will be attending the Singapore Airshow, and hope to meet as many of current and future partners there as possible. See you there!

Lewis Purcell
Director APAC