A Better Flight Plan

Industry Insights

A4A Speaks on Workforce at FAA’s Aviation Safety InfoShare

Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducted its semi-annual Aviation Safety InfoShare meeting in Baltimore, Maryland to an audience of over 1300 aviation professionals. In his keynote, Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen emphasized the importance of safety within the aviation industry and ways to mitigate risks including:

  • Safety issue-reporting and creating the foundation for reducing any safety events; and
  • Navigating the current landscape of the aviation workforce.

Justin Madden, A4A’s Managing Director of Engineering & Maintenance, participated in a workforce transition panel during the event, reiterating the aviation industry’s dedication to safety and addressing how industry is staying ahead of the rapid changes in the growing aviation industry, while also navigating a changing workforce. 

The sudden ramp-up of U.S. airline operations after the pandemic was made possible by the Payroll Support Program (PSP), which allowed carriers to keep thousands and thousands of workers – flight attendants, pilots, gate agents and others – trained and on the job. However, recognizing the need to hire aggressively post-pandemic to accommodate surging demand, carriers launched highly successful hiring campaigns to bolster our industry’s workforce. Throughout 2022, U.S. passenger airlines added 50,000 employees, ending the year with the largest workforce in 20 years. As we continue to hire for careers across the industry, it’s important to focus on the many ways carriers are investing in current and future employees. 

Madden indicated that A4A’s members are consistently reviewing and adapting their training programs to accommodate all experience levels, and many airlines have either established or seek to establish mentoring programs that pair up senior or retired employees with new hires to assist in the transfer of knowledge. 

On the topic of capturing organizational knowledge, Madden said, “We need to utilize every tool in our toolbox to ensure that this experiential knowledge does not vanish, such as mentorships that provide a person-to-person transfer, and standards like the ATA Specs to help current and future generations gain a perspective of what actually works.” 

When asked if industry could maintain its tempo, Madden said, “as safety is our members’ number one priority, emphatically yes. With robust safety management systems (SMS) and other integral safety systems like continuous airworthiness maintenance programs (CAMP), we are constantly challenging ourselves to maintain the highest standards of safety.”  

The next Aviation Safety InfoShare is slated for November 2023. For more information on U.S. airlines hiring efforts, visit A4A’s job page.   

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