AVIATION MAINTENANCE Additional Coordination and Data Could Advance FAA Efforts to Promote a Robust, Diverse Workforce
United States Government Accountability Office Washington United States
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss our work on the aviation maintenance workforce. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 included a provision for us to examine different aspects of this workforce, including how government, industry, and educational institutions coordinate to support workforce growth.1 Each year, hundreds of millions of passengers rely on airlines to get them safely to their destination, rendering public confidence in safety critical to the aviation industry.The Federal Aviation Administration FAA requires that only mechanics who are certificated by the FAA approve aircraft for return to service. A sufficient supply of qualified aviation maintenance workers, including FAA certificated mechanics and repairmen, is necessary for repairing aircraft and maintaining a safe and robust aviation system.2 Changes in aviation industry technology are ongoing and are expected to continue at a rapid pace, which has implications for the training of these workers. In addition, FAA and the aviation industry anticipate that the demand for air travel will grow in coming years. Federal and aviation industry stakeholders have expressed concern over the capacity of the aviation maintenance workforce to meet projected needs due to retirements, attrition, fleet growth, and the growing demand for air travel. Yet federal data limitations make it difficult to determine certain employment characteristics for this workforce and the curriculum requirements for the aviation maintenance technician AMT schools that train certificated mechanics are decades old.