Cabin crew careers: Outlook for 2012

Viewed 19,965 times
By on Tuesday 17th Jan, 2012 at 15:31

With 2012 officially underway, and an increasing number of people seeking careers as cabin crew, we take a look at the latest employment trends. We also look at who’s likely to be hiring cabin crew in 2012 and where you should be focusing your attention when it comes to applying for jobs.

So, what happened in 2011? Last year was a mixed year with some carriers experiencing growth, while some narrowly escaped sinking into administration and liquidation. Although this has been a confusing time for many, it was not completely unexpected.

The travel industry has not remained unaffected by the downturn in economy which has almost become apparent on a world-wide scale, and as such the aviation industry saw a rise in budget airline capacity, and a decline in those who didn’t opt for the ‘no frills’ approach to flying.

Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO said: “Weak global economic performance is being reflected in air transport markets. Freight markets have contracted some 4% compared to January. Although passenger markets have had some growth relative to the beginning of the year – about 2% – the trend has been both soft and volatile. Continuing economic uncertainty will likely mean market shortcomings deepening as we enter 2012.”

Globally, passenger loads have fallen sharply to 76.3% from 78.5% in October 2011. This shows that the weakness in passenger demand is outpacing airlines’ ability to adjust capacity accordingly. Regional differences are sharp. While North American carriers saw a 0.8% decline in travel, carriers in the Middle East experienced a 10.1% increase, followed by 9.0% for Latin American airlines.

Looking ahead
Although 2011 seemed on the whole to be a little negative in terms of industry growth and jobs, the news for 2012 by in large seems to be a lot brighter.

Particularly in the Asian market where we can see places such as China and Singapore introducing brand new carriers, and increasing capacity on flights and in airports.

Singapore has announced the arrival of its new long-haul budget carrier Scoot, which in turn has created more than 240 cabin crew jobs for that airline alone.

The impact countries such as China are having on the aviation industry is growing – and that doesn’t look to be slowing in 2012. This is fantastic in terms of the global aviation market and will certainly help to create more job openings over the coming year.

As more and more airlines announce the launch of services from China, there are concerns that there could be a shortage of airline staff to fill the demand.

Emirates are the latest to start offering Chinese flights, with the launch of its A380 service between Dubai and Shanghai. Figures show that last year, 500 million passengers flew in and out of China and this number looks set to at least double over the next decade.

As domestic and international airlines search for airline staff, cabin crew jobs look set to be plentiful. Over the next two decades, it is predicted that around 2,000 cabin crew jobs will be created within domestic airlines in China. However, the airlines are also in competition with companies abroad and need to find the right recruitment strategy if they are to attract the talent they require.

However there have been concerns that the UK may begin to fall behind other industry leaders without the increase in airport capacity and the seemingly unpopular Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax.

Four UK and Irish airlines are calling upon the UK government to scrap APD. The tax is applied to nearly every flight ticket originating the UK and has risen sharply since it was introduced in the early 90s.

When the scheme was first brought in, tickets originating the UK could cost between a fiver and £40 – this has risen to a whopping £170 in some cases.

Low cost airlines easyJet and Ryanair have openly been at the forefront of the anti-APD campaign, as well as long-haul giants Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.

The airlines argue that this tax makes the UK a less attractive destination for holidaymakers and it penalises the country.

The amount of Air Passenger Duty that passengers must pay is dependent upon whether their flights are short or long-haul, and in what class they choose to sit in – for example economy or business.

British Airways has reacted to the possible downturn in the market for 2012 by halving the amount of new jobs created over the year.

The airline said a “difficult economic background” and UK tax hikes had prompted the decision. BA also said it would postpone its plan to bring an extra Boeing 747 into service next summer and would review the use of two others.

BA Chief Executive Keith Williams said: “The government talks about creating the conditions for jobs and growth – but the reality is the opposite.

"Its tax policy, which is uniquely hostile to aviation, is costing jobs and growth at British Airways.

“The rises in APD [Air Passenger Duty] have left us with no alternative but to cut back on our planned recruitment.

"Many of these opportunities would have been for young people. At a time of high unemployment for new graduates and school-leavers, it is deeply regrettable that these additional tax increases have propelled us into this decision.”

Olympic impact
The London 2012 Olympics will have a massive impact on the aviation industry as a whole, but the UK will be most affected.

The UK government has stated that airspace restrictions will be placed around all Games venues.

The major restrictions will be centered on London and the Olympic Park and will run from 14 July 2012 to 15 August 2012.

A smaller set of airspace restrictions will then be put in place for the London 2012 Paralympic Games from 16 August 2012 to 12 September 2012. All are implemented by the UK government through its paramount objective is to deliver safe and secure Games.