Feb. 15, 2019
By Ed Bolen, NBAA President and CEO
We all know how important business aviation is to America’s economy and transportation system. The industry supports one million jobs and generates $200 billion in annual economic activity, connects communities to the global marketplace, and provides lift for worthy humanitarian endeavors.
But business aviation is facing a talent shortage. Among NBAA member companies, more than 60 percent have experienced pilot turnover since 2015, and 33 percent have lost maintenance technicians. And a recent Boeing study concludes that over the next 20 years, 96,000 new business aircraft pilots will be needed, along with a similar number of support personnel.
Meeting those numbers is not simply a matter of filling those jobs. While qualified professionals will be needed tomorrow, it is important to retain today’s workers. NBAA is confronting the talent challenge through several major efforts to attract, retain and grow the industry workforce.
The association hosts student-focused “Careers in Business Aviation” days as part of NBAA’s annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). These events have introduced more than 5,500 students to the industry’s career opportunities. NBAA also coordinates with local aviation groups and schools to organize events that introduce hundreds more young people to business aviation. NBAA also offers nearly $100,000 in scholarships annually to students and aviation professionals.
To help advance careers, NBAA offers a Professional Development Program focused on management fundamentals that has helped prepare over 11,000 aviation professionals for leadership roles. NBAA’s accredited Certified Aviation Manager Program is the industry standard for management excellence, and the credential has been earned by 400 professionals.
To help nurture the next generation of managers, NBAA set up the Young Professionals in Business Aviation program, which has helped more than 3,500 industry leaders establish professional relationships and networks.
Most recently, NBAA was involved in a USA Today campaign to promote aviation workforce development by describing the opportunities available in business aviation. You can read my published op-ed, “Business Aviation Lets You Take Your Career Skyward,” by visiting nbaa.org/skyward.
NBAA will continue exploring workforce solutions while building awareness of our industry’s career opportunities. Together, with your help, we will meet our workforce challenges.