(MENAFN) A new study conducted by US plane-maker giant Boeing expected Middle East airlines to need 36,100 pilots and 53,700 technicians by the year 2031, Arabian Business reported.
Last year, the Saudi Aviation Flight Academy released a report saying that GCC airlines are facing a critical shortage of pilots to staff their growing fleets, with at least 1,700 new professionals needed each year to meet demand.
The report added that aviation colleges in the six Gulf states train less than 1,000 new pilots a year, creating a significant supply gap that threatens to stall the growth of local carriers, the report said.
Globally, the study forecasted an unprecedented demand for airline pilots and maintenance technicians over the next 20 years, as global economies expand and airlines take delivery of tens of thousands of new commercial airplanes.
The 2012 Pilot and Technician Outlook said that the world will hire 460,000 new commercial airline pilots and 601,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians.
The study also saw strong demand for aviation personnel this year. Demand for technicians, however, is estimated to have declined from last year, partly because of new improved airplane technology and maintenance efficiencies as well as older airplanes being retired sooner than average due to higher fuel prices.
Demand for maintenance personnel, however, is still expected to grow in proportion to the expanding global fleet, the study added.
Separately, Boeing foresaw Middle East airline traffic to expand 6.4 percent, compounded annually, during the next 20 years.