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NEWS Last modified on March 24, 2015

Aviation needs to replace an entire generation of staff in the next 15 years – ICAO

ICAO secretary general, Raymond Benjamin, today warned that the aviation industry is facing the “critical challenge” of replacing an entire generation of staff and coping with a doubling of capacity over the next 15 years. 

Benjamin, speaking at the Global Aviation Training (GAT) Symposium in Dublin, claims that with traffic expected to double to 6 billion passengers and 60 million flights globally per annum by 2030 that these are "sobering numbers”.

He adds that the doubling of aviation capacity over the next 15 years will coincide with a significant demographic challenge for the industry globally.

“As the baby-boomer generation comes up 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 says.

According to Benjamin, the aviation industry’s main priority during this period of growth will be “to maintain and improve the safety and security of air transport operations".

He says that this would have to be achieved without any negative impact on the efficiency and reliability of the global air transport system.

Environmental considerations in relation to aircraft noise and emissions would also be significant factors in the coming years, admits Benjamin.

The symposium is backed by ICAO, the UN body which sets global aviation standards, and hosted by the Dublin International Aviation Training Academy (DIATA), a subsidiary of Irish airport operator, DAA, which is becoming a significant player in aviation training.

Almost 400 delegates from 71 countries are attending the symposium, which is focused on meeting the staffing and training requirements of the booming international aviation sector.

DAA's chief executive, Kevin Toland, comments: “Through DIATA, we are assisting ICAO and other agencies to deliver a significant improvement in aviation training programmes.

“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.

“DIATA intends to play a central role in that expansion by sharing the knowledge and skills built up through daa’s many decades of airport operations with our international colleagues.”

Faced with a potential shortage of skilled staff for the aviation sector, ICAO has launched a major initiative entitled the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) to ensure that there will be enough qualified and competent aviation staff available to operate, manage and safeguard the future of the global aviation industry.

The Global Aviation Training symposium is showcasing ICAO’s Trainair Plus Programme, which is the main tool used to develop and deliver training courses that meet ICAO’s specific compliance requirements.

DIATA is currently a fully accredited ICAO Trainair Plus Gold Member and Gold Trainair Plus training centre, and was only the third airport training organisation in the world to be certified to this high level.

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