Note to reader: Is it time to view pilot training as part of an infrastructure investment for national and global mobility? I'm writing this on the assumption that there is a pilot shortage (or one is coming). There are various opinions on whether or not there is, in fact, a shortage, and it appears that the answers are related 1) to long-term projections and 2) to where, on the globe, pilots are needed.
So, assuming that a pilot shortage is a real issue...
If highways are infrastructure, are "airways" infrastructure, too? If so, should pilot training be viewed as a form of infrastructure investment?
"...how would a supply-side lack of flights (due to lack of qualified pilots) affect ticket prices for those flights that are available?"
Are we facing a scenario where we might see additional flight cancellations and route restrictions? If a global mobility structure like air transport is disrupted, then other industries, business relationships, and social connections can be hindered as well. Also, how would a supply-side lack of flights (due to lack of qualified pilots) affect ticket prices for those flights that are available?
"...we may fail to maintain an important aspect of international and interstate commerce, collaboration, and connectedness."
Consider that, if I were talking here about a highway system deficiency, then we might quickly chime in, "Invest in infrastructure!" The difference here is that highways at 30,000 feet are utilized by vehicles costing $70 million that are driven by skilled pilots. Currently, without the pilot-aspect of the airways, the usability of that "infrastructure" goes away.
I submit here that, if we fail to view a pilot shortage from an infrastructure issue, we may fail to maintain an important aspect of international and interstate commerce, collaboration, and connectedness. It is, perhaps, simply time for stakeholders to invest in pilot training, so that our global mobility infrastructure can remain usable.
"...keep the the airliners in the air by training pilots..."
If manufacturers, airlines, and nation-states pool resources to keep the the airliners in the air by training pilots, then those stakeholders can maintain an important form of global infrastructure.
Kind regards from the other side of the pond,
Lewis-Gray Solutions Group, LC