Grayson Belvin - VP/Director - EMEA Representative
For The Pilot Shortage: An Airline Pilot Training...MARKETPLACE?
Updated: Jul 25, 2018
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
In a recent article, I outlined a simplified pilot training approach that explained who to train and when in an airline pilot shortage. But what about the pilot training industry as a whole?
"...a digitized marketplace stocked with pilot training providers where airlines, agencies, or pilots can choose without having to reinvent the training pipeline each time."
Is it Time for an Organized Pilot Training "Marketplace?"
Training perspectives from the past don't seem to be keeping up with pilot demand, and it may be time for the pilot training industry to "come to market" in order to:
Connect Supply (Training Services) to Demand (Airlines, Agencies, and Students)
Utilize Training Capacity that Small and Large Flight Schools Offer in Sum
Before I dive in, let me draw a quick analogy.
Pilots as INFRASTRUCTURE...Parts
Airline pilots are obviously people (for now). But... are they also an investment in a form of infrastructure?
Classically, infrastructure helps by establishing shared utilities and pathways for society and business. If pilots help us by being parts of society's mobility capabilities, then maybe flight schools help us by making
"parts" for that mobility infrastructure.
I'm drawing an analogy here. I'm not trying to minimize the massive importance of Pilots as people and as professionals.
"It may be time to establish collaboration to meet a bigger infrastructure need..."
To build highway infrastructure, for example, we let bidders compete for parts of that role. Or, to build an electricity grid infrastructure, a supply chain organizes, and work is divided and granted among producers, builders, and engineers.
Contrast that with the myriad of pilot training pipelines that carriers, manufactures, and agencies seem to be building in haste today to keep up with the need for pilots. Are we reinventing the pilot training pipeline over and over again and with unnecessary inefficiencies? If so, then perhaps the next logical step involves another question: Do we need a "marketplace" for this global mobility infrastructure to, well, structure?
How could you/we do this? I'm not sure, but here are a couple of ideas:
Create a "Marketplace" and Digitize
If, for example, the multitudes of flight schools were able to bid for a specific training orders from agencies or airlines, (perhaps per geographic area), then how might economies-of-scale be established, smaller schools' training capacity utilized, and training-expectations standardized?
What I'm talking about here is a digitized marketplace stocked with pilot training providers where airlines, agencies, or pilots can choose without having to reinvent the training pipeline each time. Training agreements could still be granted per customer choice.
I have been in the middle between flight training and pilot agency, and the process of connecting the dots between the available training and what's needed can be messy:
What approvals do they (the flight school) have?
How many students can they take on?
What are their prices?
But, if small and large flight training schools alike - ranging from Mom-and-Pop flight schools to Big House flight academies - were already in joint-capacity roles, then training purchasing decisions could be simplified (and I'll say it again, overall training capacity could be better utilized).
"...how might economies-of-scale be established, smaller schools' training capacity utilized, and training-expectations standardized?"
Order The Chaos
It may be time to meet a bigger "infrastructure" need; to bring Demand into a supply-stocked marketplace that helps the airlines and the flight schools at the same time.
Is it time to "marketplace" the pilot training industry?
So, if this is a feasible concept, how could we do this?
Kind regards from the other side of the pond,
EMEA Representative, VP/Director,
Lewis-Gray Solutions Group, LC,
Branch Office, Republic of Macedonia