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2 THE AVIATION INDUSTRY AND ITS WORKFORCE
Pages 18-52

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From page 18...
... This chapter gives an overview of the aviation industry and its workforce, in order to provide a context for our more detailed analysis of training issues in subsequent chapters. We review major developments in the history of civilian aviation, such as the waxing and waning of the federal regulatory role, that shaped the industry's organization and personnel practices.
From page 19...
... As an infrastructure for these transcontinental routes, the Post Office by 1925 had developed a system of landing fields and flashing beacons from New York to San Francisco capable of supporting both daytime and nighttime operations. Thus, commercial air transportation in the United States began with a number of small passenger companies whose presence was often no more than transient and with a subsidized airmail service operated by the U.S.
From page 20...
... Developed in this era, the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 formed the basis for federal aviation policies and authority and remained the primary influence until the time of deregulation in 1978. The 1938 act created the Civil Aeronautics Authority, which was reorganized into the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB)
From page 21...
... Through a combination of growth, government subsidy, and CAB route policies, many of these local service airlines came to resemble small trunk airlines in their operation. Even so, they retained a distinct regional focus in their route networks prior to deregulation.
From page 22...
... Starting in the late 1960s, the local service airlines and to a lesser extent the trunk airlines were permitted to hand over a few of their routes to noncertificated commuter airlines (who flew regular schedules but used smaller airplanes than the trunk and local service airlines)
From page 23...
... Scheduled Airline Industry (various years)
From page 24...
... For the purposes of this study, it is important to place commercial airlines in the larger context of civilian aviation because other parts of the civilian aviation industry play an important role as a training ground for pilots, maintenance technicians, and other airline personnel. A Classification System for Civilian Aviation An important foundation for the committee's work is a clear and consistent way of describing the various parts of civilian aviation.
From page 25...
... . While they operate under Part 121, they are often grouped with the scheduled air taxis in FAA statistical reports (e.g., Federal Aviation Administration, 1995:K-3)
From page 26...
... Scheduled air taxis perform at least five round trips per week between two or more points and publish flight schedules for these flights. In 1992 and 1993 there were 141 small certificated and scheduled air taxis combined (Federal Aviation Administration, n.d.(b)
From page 27...
... Highways provided the most simple solution to what was then a simple problem. Over the last two decades, rapid growth of air transportation at large airports has created the need for improved integration of air transportation with multimodal ground transportation.
From page 28...
... Because air transportation is capital intensive, however, it employs relatively few people. Employment in air transportation and aircraft manufacturing together accounted for barely 1 percent of U.S.
From page 29...
... There were also some much smaller benefits for general aviation. Thus, whereas direct air transportation employment may be responsible for less than 1 percent of jobs, commercial aviation accounts for over 10 percent of U.S.
From page 30...
... Department of Commerce, which recognize three specialized aviation-related transportation occupations: airline pilots,4 aircraft mechanics,5 and aerospace engineers. Pilots 4The occupational classification system used by federal agencies conducting household surveys
From page 31...
... .6 As best we can determine from comparing information from different sources, the airlines employ between half and two-thirds of the individuals employed as pilots and a smaller proportion of aircraft mechanics. The airlines employ perhaps three-quarters of the individuals who report themselves as holding air transportation-related jobs.
From page 32...
... 32 a' .~ so ˘ a' C)
From page 33...
... New Hires Hiring data on pilots have been most closely tracked over time by FAPAformerly called Future Airline Pilots Association or Future Aviation Professionals of America an Atlanta-based career and financial planning service for airline workers. FAPA data for the 10-year period ending in 1994 (Table 2-6)
From page 34...
... 34 1 oo a' o .
From page 35...
... We are unaware of any published data that indicate the true number of new pilots entering air carrier employment in any given year. Annual hiring statistics for aircraft mechanics are less readily available than for pilots, but volatility appears to characterize this group as well.
From page 36...
... In nominal terms, mean gross monthly earnings for captains increased about 28 percent between 1984 and 1995 in both the majors and the regionals. Adjusting for inflation (using the consumer price index)
From page 37...
... , real wages are seen to have fallen about 12 percent for the majors and about 10 percent for the regionals. Average earnings among employees in air transportation still significantly exceed those of workers in industry as a whole (Table 2-10~.
From page 39...
... Indeed, the rise in real wages for regional first officers may be partially due to this shift (Proctor, 1995:62; Transportation Research Board, 1996:49~. Individual pilot salaries, along with other aspects of employment, such as 8A Department of Transportation study that also reports on average wages in air transportation and selected other industries notes that the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the source of the data, does not publish air transportation averages separately because the small size of the sample result in statistics that do not meet its standards for reliability.
From page 40...
... In the early l990s the FAA reported average midrange salaries for commercial pilots (e.g., patrol, ferry, helicopter, aerial survey) as $20,000 annually, for agricultural pilots as $17,000 annually, and for air taxi/charter pilots as $14 per hour (Federal Aviation Administration, n.d.(a)
From page 41...
... is a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating. Many Part 135 pilots in command, including all commuter pilots in command, are also required to hold ATP certificates and appropriate aircraft type ratings.
From page 42...
... Commercial pilot certificates have lower requirements, notably a current secondclass medical certificate and 250 hours of flight time as a pilot. As we discuss in Chapter 4, an expensive aspect of becoming an airline pilot can be the costs of accumulating the flight time necessary to acquire the required certificates.
From page 43...
... Federal certification for aviation maintenance technicians and repairmen appears to be on the verge of major changes, designed to recognize the increasing skills necessary to work on today's aircraft. After completing the first full regulatory review of the certification requirements for aviation maintenance personnel since 1962, the FAA has proposed a new Part 66 of the Federal Air Regulations, which will focus only on maintenance personnel and will replace the maintenance provisions in subparts D and E of Part 65.
From page 44...
... certificates, which will require additional preparation and training. These changes are designed to respond to the findings of the Pilot and Aviation Maintenance Technician Blue Ribbon Panel, which "concluded that existing certification requirements did not give aviation maintenance personnel the entry-level experience and skills necessary to perform work involving transport category aircraft that use new technology" (Federal Aviation Administration, n.d.(c)
From page 45...
... 12The FAA reports on the number of pilot and mechanic certificates held by women but not by racial minorities. The number of active pilot certificates held probably bears some relationship to the number of individuals employed as pilots or available for employment, since keeping these certificates current requires a valid medical certificate that (for the air transport pilot certificate)
From page 46...
... Black and Hispanic men were noticeably more likely to report their occupation as aircraft mechanic in 1990 than their representation in the civilian labor force would suggest, but black and Hispanic women, like white women, were not very likely to be aircraft mechanics. It is very difficult to find statistical data on two related issues of interest to the committee: the representation of women and minorities in the workforces of the major airlines and the proportion of new hires that are women and minorities.
From page 47...
... Unfortunately, we found no data that would verify this expectation. Similarly, we know of no data about the numbers of women and minorities at various levels of management in the airline industry, although the numbers 13This estimate may be somewhat high, given that women hold fewer than 5 percent of commer cial and air transport pilot certificates (see Table 5-1)
From page 48...
... (0-7) NOTE: Experienced civilian labor force consists of the employed and the experienced unemployed.
From page 49...
... THE A VIA TIONINDUSTRY AND ITS WORKFORCE Force 49 Am. Indian, Asian and Pacific Eskimo, Aleut.
From page 50...
... FAPA indicates that it obtains overall pilot hiring numbers directly from the air carriers; however, other FAPA data, which we and others use extensively to learn about pilot hiring (such as sex, military background, education) , appear to come from surveys distributed to successful job applicants by FAPA members hired at the same airline.
From page 51...
... These minima are generally far below the standards that the major airlines expect successful job applicants to meet and, for the most part, have been able to demand even in periods when labor markets were tight. When, during the peak hiring periods of the 1980s, the major airlines reduced "soft" requirements for pilots, such as age, education, and vision requirements, they were able to attract the new hires they needed without much variation in their standards for total flight time, certificates, and experience levels (Blue Ribbon Panel, 1993: 15~.
From page 52...
... This theme emerges again in Chapter 4, as we encountered similar difficulties in painting a statistical portrait of civilian aviation training.


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