As Japan’s in-bound tourism industry booms, the nation’s expanding airlines are struggling to meet demand due to a widespread shortage of pilots that is being blamed on the nation’s ageing population. Tourism is among Japan’s fastest-growing industries with a record high for foreign visitors record in April, up 33 per cent from last year to 1.2 million said the Japan National Tourism Organisation.
The Japan Tourism Agency said in-bound tourists’ consumption had increased 31 per cent to 1.4 trillion yen in 2013.

And that’s expected to grow with the government targeting an influx of 20 million tourists as Japan host the Olympic Games in 2020. But at the same time the aviation industry is reeling with thousands of flights at risk of cancellation this summer.

Budget carrier Peach Aviation conceded in May that 2,000 of its flights risked being impacted by a shortage of pilots through to October, with 448 journeys cancelled since then.

Vanilla Air has also announced it was forced to can 154 flights in June citing staff shortages. Japanese MP Yuriko Koike, who is working on policies to encourage an increase in birth rates in the country, said the issue is at crisis level.

‘We already know that the number of pilots is in crisis,’ Koike is quoted to have said in the Telegraph. ‘The baby boomer pilots are now going to retire – and the number of new young pilots hasn’t been well recruited.’… see more

source: dailymail UK