For airlines, it could be argued that their lifeblood is the cadre of technicians that keeps their airplanes flying. Unfortunately, that supply has been chronically anemic in recent years, and could worsen as thousands of new jetliners come on stream.
To maintain those aircraft, the demand for qualified technicians will remain strong, according to Boeing’s market outlook for 2016-35. The highly referenced document projects a global requirement for 679,000 aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs) through 2035. The Asia-Pacific region, needing 268,000, will be the largest market for skilled technicians, with North America in second place at 127,000.
The problem is that all skill sets are in short supply, according to Kip Blakely, vice president of customer and government relations at HAECO Americas in Greensboro, North Carolina. “The shortage is even more critical with those who qualify as inspectors and quality-control technicians, because it takes many years to get the experience and certifications,” he explains. “During that period, people drop out.”