This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Revenue for more than two-thirds of Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) members has declined an average of 45.9 percent in the first five months of 2020, mostly from the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to results of a survey by the trade group. What’s more, aggregate employment at the surveyed companies fell nearly 27 percent—from 11,879 to 8,699—between January 1 and June 1.
“Maintenance companies are desperate to hold on to the technical talent they’ve worked so hard to cultivate,” said ARSA executive v-p Christian Klein. “It’s extremely disheartening to watch all these layoffs happen in an industry that just a few months ago was facing severe worker shortages. This massive loss of technical talent is going to haunt aviation for years to come.”
ARSA v-p of operations Brett Levanto told AIN the majority of responses came from commercial aviation repair stations. According to the survey, 46.9 percent of member companies reported declines in employment while 43.2 percent reported no change. For the 54.1 percent of member companies receiving Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, just 5.8 percent saw employment declines. ARSA said many repair stations large and small were unable to tap into federal relief from CARES and other programs.
“The CARES Act and other recent legislation have saved repair station jobs, but it was clearly a mistake to make relief unavailable to small companies with unique ownership structures and to larger companies that employ the most people—particularly those not located at airports,” Klein said. “To prevent more job losses, as Congress gears up for the next round of stimulus, lawmakers must ensure than any company that needs help can get it. That means continuing the PPP, loosening the strings, and making changes to eligibility for payroll support.”