LABACE Convention News

IBA Looks at Aviation's Human Resources

 - August 9, 2018, 6:45 AM

The first volume of the Brazilian Civil Aviation Human Resources Yearbook, with a diagnosis of the current scenario of labor force training for the Brazilian aviation supply chain, reflects the depth of the crisis facing aviation in the nation. This 200-page volume has perspectives from industry leaders and includes statistics on the entire labor force.

A graph showing aviation sector manpower from 2010 to 2016 visually reflects cause for concern. Aviation employed 147,403 in 2010, rose to 170,000 in 2012, and by 2016 had dropped to 144,881, mirroring the drop in airline passengers, in air freight, and in general aviation.

“In Brazil, we transport around 100 million passengers per year. Once the country moves to solve infrastructure bottlenecks and enacts an operational system revitalizing regional aviation, the growth potential will reach 200 million passengers per year. That means doubling everything,” observed Francisco Lyra, president of the Brazilian Aviation Institute (IBA). But the problem is also qualitative, he added. “Aviation curricula need to be permanently modernized…we still teach obsolete, abandoned technologies in Brazil.” For example, mechanics still must be qualified on radial engines, a technology of interest only to museums and the rare antique airplane.

IBA is producing the Human Resources Yearbook to diagnose the manpower bottlenecks that Brazilian aviation will face before it runs into them. If Brazil reaches the average flights per person of the developed world, the number of passengers will not be the current 100 million or the anticipated 200 million, but rather 600 to 800 million passengers per year. Constructing airports is notoriously time-consuming, but training airport engineers takes time, too, and must be done first and is but one of the 1,006 specialties needed to expand the civil aviation system.

For the present, the book allows those doing business in the region to see the size of the markets they can sell to, the pool of manpower they can hire from, and anticipate which jobs will be the hardest to fill.

The bilingual book’s first part discusses the regulatory structure of aviation education, including OACI and the alphabet soup of Brazilian governmental bureaus and agencies involved in regulation, both civil and military. The second part covers the professional education system and describes the kinds of institutions involved: schools, universities, aeroclubs, military and other public organizations, airline education departments, and others. Letters from important figures in aviation education introduce the section, which with a wealth of statistics, charts and maps distribution by state, how many students are trained, and other measurements.

As an example of the richness of information, the book provides the information that Brazil's regulatory agency ANAC has accredited 21 Civil Aviation Training Centers, five in Brazil and 16 overseas. Those centers have a total of 197 ANAC-approved simulators, of which more than 86 percent are outside the country. Appendix 5 lists the 98 models of aircraft simulated, and how many simulators there are for each model.

The heart of the book is its enumeration of human resources profiles, that is, civil aviation job categories, with descriptions, duties, and requirements, not only for jobs in the air but also ground-based personnel from fueling operator to air navigation manager, with statistical information provided about each category.

For example, there are 3,487 aircraft technicians in Brazil; airlines employ 35 percent, aircraft manufacturers 28 percent, and aircraft maintenance and repair facilities 21 percent. “The average age in the area is 39 years, but the largest share of professionals (34 percent) is in the 25-34 age range. Aircraft mechanical technicians above 45 years of age represent 28 percent of working professionals. The educational profile of mechanical technicians is mainly composed of professionals with a high school diploma (81 percent).”

A planned second edition will forecast demand for the next 10 and 20 years, and this will be followed by a third edition analyzing the gap between the present and future projections. The fourth volume will list recommendations from aviation and education experts.