Washington, DC, September 26, 2018 – Today, the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce convened a hearingwith industry stakeholders to examine the pilot and mechanic shortage and its impacts on small businesses.
In a letter submitted for the record, National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President Gary Dempsey praised the subcommittee for bringing this important issue to light in a time where the decline of pilots and mechanics can be felt across the industry. “Aviation businesses are continuously seeking to hire skilled pilots and mechanics, however the gap between supply and demand is increasing and small aviation businesses are finding fewer opportunities to support the activity needed to maintain business,” stated Dempsey. He noted that this shortage is putting a strain on aviation businesses that support the 1.2 million general aviation jobs and that most of them are small businesses.
Discussing the pilot shortage, Dempsey noted the intrigue younger generations have with becoming an airline pilot over a general or business aviation pilot, and that students entering the workforce have more opportunities to accept and reject job offers. However, “the general aviation community continues to find ways to attract pilots to the industry – from NATA’s Young Aviation Business Professionals' events to support of industry programs and grant opportunities – to broaden the horizons of the next generation of aviation professionals who seek a small business-oriented lifestyle,” Dempsey stated. Looking at the mechanic shortage, Dempsey noted that a mass retirement of aviation maintenance technicians is looming, “and without the number of qualified replacements, airplanes will not be able to fly and small businesses around the country will lose money and opportunities.”
Dempsey highlighted the work Congress is doing to aid in closing the pilot and mechanic shortage gap with legislation aimed at supporting those who wish to pursue a job in the aviation industry. He also noted NATA’s collaboration with groups like the Civil Air Patrol “to explore options to provide CAP Cadets education and experiences within the GA industry.”
The subcommittee heard testimony from the Aeronautical Repair Station (ARSA), Eastern Iowa Airport, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and CI Jets. For more information about the hearing and to read witness testimony and other documents, visit the House Small Business Committee website.
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The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for over 75 years. Representing nearly 2,300 aviation businesses, NATA’s member companies provide a broad range of services to general aviation, the airlines and the military and NATA serves as the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.