Aviation as a career.
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There were a couple of big takeaways from our most recent survey, this one on Aviation As A Career, and at first glance, the views our readers expressed might not seem consistent, as they expressed pessimism about the outlook for air carriers, but guarded optimism about aviation as a career choice.

That pessimism was reflected in your answers to our first question, “How long will it be before airline flying returns to its pre-pandemic heights?” was sobering. A total of 72% of respondents thought it would take at least two years, and 8% said it would never return. So 80% of participants thought that airline business would be shaky for the near term or longer, if it came back at all, while 57% thought that the airlines would begin laying off large numbers of pilots as soon as the CARES Act money runs out, at the end of September.

When it came to the question of whether a young (or not-so-young) person should pursue an aviation career, our respondents were far more hopeful. Around 70% of you said that while there were no guarantees, it still makes sense to follow your dreams, though of that number, about a third thought the risks were very high.

Finally, our last question, about the future of aviation as a career overall, showcased the wide variety of views on the future of the industry, with 37% seeing a smaller, stronger aviation career environment emerge, while about an equal number felt that aviation would simply never be the same.

Thanks to all who participated.

1. How long will it be before airline flying returns to something close to its pre-pandemic heights?
Six months.
Two years.
More than two years.

2. What will happen when the federally allocated money to the airlines (CARES Act) runs out at the end of September and airlines are under no obligation to retain their employees.
There will be a follow on to CARES (CARES2?) that will buy some more time.
The airlines will start laying off or furloughing large numbers of pilots.
The airlines will lay off as few pilots as possible in anticipation of returning to normal.
The economy will have rebounded by then and it won’t be an issue.

3. A young person comes up to you and asks your advice. Should they embark upon a career as an airline pilot. What do you tell them?
Absolutely. Things will be back to normal and you’ll be in great shape by the time you’ve got your wings.
Absolutely not. There will be too many pilots available for a limited number of jobs for the foreseeable future.
It’s a crap shoot. Good luck, kid.
If it’s in your heart, follow it. But no guarantees.

4. What’s your overall sense of aviation (all aviation jobs) as a career?
Blue skies and great jobs just ahead.
Storm clouds and bad news for years.
A new kind of aviation world with fewer jobs but a new kind of strength.
A world in which the old model of aviation will never be the same.