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Want to be a pilot or a technician? There's a worldwide shortage

Instead of the downpour of rain occurring today at the Paris Air Show, the world will need a downpouring of pilots and technicians to meet the a growing demand for commercial airplanes over the next 20 years.

The need will be “staggering,” Boeing officials said in a media briefing this morning, the third day of the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.

The company predicts demand for 460,000 new commercial airline pilots and 650,000 commercial airline maintenance technicians over the next 20 years.

That’s 23,000 pilots and 32,500 technicians a year needed to fly and maintain a fleet that’s expected to grow to 40,000 planes in the next two decades and replace the wave of people who will be retiring.

“Those are significant numbers,” said Boeing Flight Services vice president Sherry Carbary

The largest demand — about 40 percent — will come from the Asia-Pacific region, the forecast predicts.

North America will need 82,800 pilots and 134,800 technicians during that time.

The industry must invest, evolve and adapt to support that growth by providing the tools. training and work environment required. And it must encourage young people grown up in a digital world to  choose aviation as a career, Carbary said.

It also means working with industry to transform the air traffic management system and pioneer digital delivery of the navigation and in-flight data information pilots need, she said.