Bolen Calls for 'Bold Actions' To Address Aviation Workforce

 - May 13, 2022, 11:33 AM

NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen appealed to lawmakers to support collaborative efforts directed toward drawing new people into the aviation workforce, warning that a shortage could “destabilize operations.” In written testimony yesterday before the House subcommittee on innovation, entrepreneurship, and workforce development, Bolen noted that business and general aviation supports nearly 1.2 million jobs, with more than $240 billion in economic output and a favorable U.S. trade balance that reached $75 billion in 2018.

“However, for general aviation to continue growing and supporting communities, we must address the significant workforce challenges, including the growing shortage of pilots and technicians,” Bolen said, citing a need for nearly 100,000 new business aircraft pilots and 770,000 maintenance technicians globally through 2038.

“Although the pandemic has provided a momentary reprieve from the transportation workforce shortage, the demand for qualified workers is returning,” he said, and further reiterated concerns that women make up only 5 percent of the pilots and other underrepresented groups make up just 10 percent.

“As recovery and the worldwide demand for air travel continues to increase, we must come together and take bold actions that will enable the U.S. to maintain its role as the world leader in aviation,” Bolen said.

He outlined many initiatives underway that NBAA has been involved with including representation on the FAA/DOTs Women in Aviation Advisory Board and the Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force, as well as partnerships with organizations such as Red Tail Flight Academy to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. Other initiatives have included the association’s Young Professionals in Business Aviation (YoPro) program to foster the development of future industry leaders, as well as events such as career days.

“Our industry is ready to grow; but to be successful we must all work to attract the next generation of employees,” Bolen said.