Purdue to Hold Symposium to Address Pilot, Technician Shortages

FAA administrator Steve Dickson among scheduled speakers for April event.

Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology has announced the creation of the Purdue University National Aviation Symposium: Emerging Critical Shortages of Pilots and Maintenance Technicians.

This three-day symposium, scheduled for April 6 to 8, 2022, will unite the aviation community— including airlines, manufacturers, industry associations, labor unions, government agencies, and academic institutions—to identify and mitigate challenges tied to increasing the workforce of qualified pilots and technicians.

Aging and retiring pilots, combined with fewer numbers of pilots and technicians entering the workforce, have created a concerning shortage of workers. One report by consulting firm Oliver Wyman predicts that the worldwide aviation industry could need as many as 50,000 more pilots than are available by 2025.

According to the Aviation Technician Education Council, some progress has been made to increase the availability of aviation maintenance technicians, but technicians are still retiring faster than they can be replaced.

Steve Dickson, the FAA administrator, will address symposium attendees. Dickson has been an advocate for safety, global leadership, operational excellence, and the health, welfare and evolution of the FAA’s workforce since taking his position in 2019.

Before going to the FAA, Dickson spent nearly three decades at Delta Air Lines, retiring as the senior vice president of flight operations.

Objectives of the symposium include:

  • Reviewing the baseline projected levels of demand and supply of pilots and maintenance technicians.
  • Identifying challenges and roadblocks that impede the creation of candidate pools.
  • Proposing a unified position and voice on policy changes and actions required for industry, government, and academia.

“As air travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, the shortage of qualified pilots and maintenance technicians is only going to get worse unless we do something about it,” Thomas Frooninckx, head of the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology at Purdue University, said in a statement.

“By combining our expertise and resources across all facets of the aviation industry, we hope to identify and act upon the best ways to attract, train and retain a reliable, robust pipeline of aviation professionals.”

To participate in Purdue’s National Aviation Symposium, click here.

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