A hearing today before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce addressed the critical need to hire skilled workers across the aviation industry, with NBAA highlighting ongoing efforts to address workforce concerns throughout the business aviation community.
In written testimony before the “Troubled Skies: The Aviation Workforce Shortage’s Impact on Small Businesses” hearing, NBAA pointed to a recent Boeing study that concluded nearly 100,000 pilots will be needed in business aviation in the next 20 years.
The association also cited efforts to address workforce shortages within business aviation, including development of the NBAA Mentoring Network to help business aviation professionals grow in their roles and within the industry.
Additionally, more than 1,000 students attend Careers in Business Aviation Day at NBAA’s annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) and NBAA Charities offers nearly $100,000 annually in cash scholarships to assist students with the financial burden of attending an aviation program, as well as monetary grants for those already working within business aviation seeking additional training to advance their careers.
The association’s testimony also noted the prohibitively high cost for flight training through collegiate programs – ranging from $51,000 to $81,000, on top of tuition costs – and suggested extending federal financial aid guidelines to cover training through non-collegiate flight schools and other programs.
“This is an area where the subcommittee might want to consider additional research or hearings to identify solutions to student financing challenges at the many flight schools that are small businesses,” NBAA stated.
NBAA also emphasized its support for pending legislation addressing these hiring needs, including the Securing and Revitalizing Aviation (SARA) Act of 2018, which would provide grants to support aviation education and development of aviation curricula at high schools to encourage students to pursue pilot careers.
A second bill, H.R. 5701, would provide grants to support programs that teach technical skills used in aviation maintenance. Both proposals are also included in the FAA reauthorization bill currently being considered by Congress.
Scott O’Brien, NBAA’s senior director of government affairs, said the hearing marked a crucial first step toward establishing a dialogue between multiple stakeholders to address shared concerns and identify solutions.
“NBAA has heard from its members of the significant challenge in finding and retaining qualified pilots and technicians,” he said. “We applaud the subcommittee for taking the initiative on this matter and look forward to working with Capitol Hill and members of congress to develop solutions to this challenge.”