I think there will be lots of opportunities for commercial pilots in the next 20 years. Air travel is expanding exponentially with the continued rise of Asian economies and people are traveling more than ever.
I doubt technology will replace airline pilots in the near future, although it could certainly happen someday. Current aircraft are technical wonders but they aren't reliable enough yet to eliminate the need for pilots. I don't think that will happen within the next 20 years either. The A380/7897/A350 aircraft are the 'latest and greatest' yet need two pilots just as much as aircraft of the present.
The real question is whether being a commercial pilot will be a job worth having. The days of super highly paid pilots are over. Most major airlines pay decently but nothing like in the past. The trend is not encouraging either, with most major pilot unions all over the world facing layoffs and serious salary erosion. Ultimately salaries and work conditions will probably remain static at current levels. My suspicion is that the need for pilots will be offset by the reduced training and capabilities required of pilots due to more advanced technologies. Pilots are slowly sliding from 'skilled professionals' to 'commodities with specialized training.' I think a new guy today could expect lots of job opportunities in the next few decades, but I question whether it would be worth it in the end..... Good luck!
I think the problem with becoming a pilot, or any other highly skilled person in this world today is outsourcing. Within the next 20 years, companies will be able to get permission to hire contract crews from other countries. They will be trained to the company procedures and will fly the aircraft in place of the pilots you see today. In short, the guy that helped you with your Gateway Computer from Mumbai, may be flying your plane in 20 years. Who do we have to thank for this you may ask? Both NAFTA (Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr.) and the Unions who have also been guilty for trying too hard to get people paid so well, they are forcing themselves out of work. I know this probably does not answer your question, however I feel that we are too technologically young to have aircraft pilot themselves and be approved to haul self loading cargo (passengers).
i think there will always be a demand for pilots,because people are still going to fly no matter how much it is and tech wil never take over as pilots, would you ever fly in ans airplane without a pilot???
It's all dependant on oil. And the oil is going to peak soon. Scarcer and dearer oil will seriously impact on air travel. So it's not the greatest choice of career option in the long term.
Unless it's what you really want to do, in which case go for it. But you may have to re-invent yourself in twenty years or whatever.