As Superman has said in nearly every one of his movies, flying is, statistically speaking, the safest way to travel. That statement remained true in 2016, in which there were only 19 fatal airliner accidents.
People can sometimes take for granted just how safe flying can be. They don’t take a minute to think about the people who ensure that every plane is in the best condition possible: the aviation mechanic.
Unfortunately, airlines may soon be dealing with a crisis when it comes to aviation mechanics.
There are less and less of these individuals joining the workforce every year. More planes continue to be added to fleets, while the number of mechanics continues to dwindle.
So what’s behind this shortage, and how can this problem be solved? Let’s discuss.
A Worldwide Problem
First off, it’s important to note that this aviation mechanic shortage is not only affecting the United States. This is a worldwide problem that needs to be addressed.
Things may get particular bad soon for Asia, which is expected to nearly double the size of its fleet over the next decade. China and India are where this growth will be most dramatic.
North America won’t be expanding its fleet as much as Asia is. However, the lack of up-and-coming aviation mechanics remains a serious issue.
Poor Wages and Benefits for an Aviation Mechanic
So why aren’t more men and women becoming aviation mechanics?
Current mechanics point to one of the main reasons being poor wages, benefits, and perks. In the United States, the median annual wage for an aviation mechanic or technician is around $61,000.
These unattractive wages, benefits, and perks are causing people to turn away from the aviation industry. The Aviation Technician Council estimates that 25% of people that complete aviation maintenance training take jobs in other industries.
Some aviation mechanics even suggest that the automotive industry is taking away potential new hires. They say it’s more appealing for mechanics to repair a car’s breaks or tires than it is for them to perform an aircraft engine removal.
Older and Newer Technology
Another major reason for this shortage in mechanics is the advancement in airplane technology.
Over the next decade, newer, more technologically advanced planes will be added to fleets across the world. More planes than ever before will have been designed after the year 2000.
With this exciting new technology, though, comes a major challenge for mechanics. They are being asked to not only have the skill set to work on new planes but also planes that have been flying for 20 years.
Employers are requiring mechanics to have the same, old skills they have always had. However, they also want their new hires to be more tech savvy.
Employers are asking for quite a lot out of those who are joining the industry, and it may be causing these potential mechanics to look elsewhere for work.
There’s no easy fix to solving the aviation mechanic problem. However, there are some possible solutions that may help.
The first and most obvious way to deal with this issue is to provide aviation mechanics with better wages, benefits, and perks.
At first glance, this might seem like an expensive option. However, it ensures there won’t be more problematic costs down the line resulting from airlines being without the support of proper aviation mechanics.
Another tactic that could help bring in potential mechanics is more strategic and enthusiastic recruiting. Those in the industry need to make a harder push at high schools so that students will seriously consider this vocation.
Sell students on the fact that in an uncertain job market, aviation mechanics will always be needed. Appeal to them by mentioning the new, exciting technology that planes will soon feature.
The next 10 years will be an uncertain time for the aviation industry as it struggles to supply planes with enough mechanics.
Those in the industry need to consider all possible solutions moving forward before they have a major crisis on their hands.
Hopefully, things change for the better so that everyone can continue soaring through the sky safely, just like Superman.
Are you worried about the aviation mechanic shortage? Contact the airline you fly most frequently about this problem, and be sure you keep up to date on all the newest information available!