MIAMI – The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges the aviation industry has ever faced. However, the true cost of the COVID-19 crisis for aviation is its people.

Air Transport Action Group estimated that more than 4.8 million aviation workers’ jobs affected as a result of air travel demand falling. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) applied several requests to governments and called them to:

  • Provide continued financial support for the aviation industry
  • Safely re-open borders without quarantine by implementing a globally harmonized system of pre-departure COVID-19 testing
  • Develop a roadmap for long-term industry recovery including investment in workforce retraining and upskilling.
Photo: João Pedro Santoro/Airways

Europe Air Crews: 58.5% out of Work


In Europe, the situation was not much different. Eoin Coates, Head of Aviation at European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) stated that “In a recent survey of aviation workers, we have estimated that 58.5 percent of airport-based workers are out of work, either on furlough or have lost their jobs entirely.” He added that 191,000 European aviation workers had lost their jobs.

Moreover, due to the nature of seasonal work, and the prevalence of temporary and other atypical forms of work in aviation, the total amount of job losses cannot be exactly estimated. At the same time, experts estimate the total number can be well above a quarter of a million people. 

Photo: Marco Macca/Airways

The Increase of Demand for Aviation Employees 


However, the aviation sector seems to be on the track for recovery and the demand for aviation jobs strikes too. Several recruiting companies reported a rapid surge on the demand for direct-hire recruiting services from aviation related firms. On this time, the air transport sector tries to regain its most valuable asset, its people.

Companies seek for experienced executives to rely on as they plan their strategies towards a post-Covid-19 era. Abbey Hutter, JS firm’s Executive Director, commented, “After the sudden and unexpected downturn of hiring in the aviation industry in 2020, we were all eager to see what 2021 would bring us. The increase of job advertisements from companies is astounding. This is a very promising start for 2021.”

She adds, “Our concern now is that due to retirements and people leaving the industry during the past year, the industry will be left with an even bigger shortage of talent than before COVID-19. Smart companies are hiring now, so they don’t find themselves dealing with work-stopping understaffing issues as the industry begins to regain steam.”

The industry reported an increase of almost 48 percent on job offerings and it is expected to reach pre-Covid levels in the near future.


Featured image: João Pedro Santoro/Airways