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World’s super-rich hit by private jet pilot shortage

The Independent logo The Independent 07/10/2019 Vincent Wood

Private Jet On Airport Runway © Getty Private Jet On Airport Runway Owners of private jets could be left grounded in the coming years due to a shortage of pilots willing to chart a course for the super-rich.

The planes, which emerged as a status symbol for the world’s richest in the 1960s and remain a sign of ultra-wealth today, can set back buyers about £5m – even before the cost of fuel storage and airport fees is added.

However industry figures have warned the 1 per cent are unlikely to be able to find someone to staff their jets if more than 5,000 extra pilots are not found every year over the next two decades.

a airplane that is on top of a mountain © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Jet resale Company Colibri aircraft has warned that owners are struggling to find staff because pilots can receive better pay working for commercial and budget airlines.

Oliver Stone, managing director at the firm, added that the shortage of hired help available to the wealthy was already beginning to bite into private jet sales.

He said: “The world needs some 98,000 new business aviation pilots between now and 2038 to meet growing demand.

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“However, the business aviation sector is struggling to compete with airlines in recruiting pilots.

“This means commercial airlines are not only recruiting existing business aviation pilots, they are also getting the pick of newly qualified pilots.

“This issue is increasingly impacting the sale of some private jets, and we expect it to continue.”

Pilots for the UK’s biggest companies including Easyjet, British Airways and Ryanair can earn up to £200,000 a year – outstripping the average earnings of private pilots.

Meanwhile private jet pilots are often paid by the hour and can be told they will be heading out on short notice – making the regular work offered by commercial airlines even more alluring.

Additional reporting by PA

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