Airline industry job prospects
Test pilot Tony Jannus at the age of 25 flew a wood-and-muslin aircraft across the Tampa Bay. It was designed by Thomas Benoist and named “Flying boat No.43”. This activity transpired on 1st January 1914 and in its own way, redefined the course of aviation history. Although this journey lasted for a mere 23 minutes and gave a taste of adventure to one paying passenger, the trip went down in record books as the world’s very first scheduled commercial airline flight.
On 1st January just one passenger flew in one commercial flight. On 1st January 2014, it was around 8 million people flying on nearly 1, 00,000 commercial flights. Needless to say, the aviation industry has progressed immensely in the last 100 years and has succeeded in becoming one of the most prominent medium of transport today.
According to the IATA (International Air Transport Association), around 3.1 billion individuals flew in 2013. The 3 billion mark was exceeded for the first time ever. Moreover, this number is expected to reach 3.3 billion in 2014, representing almost 44% of the world’s population. The numbers are simply staggering, aren’t they?
However, commercial flying is not restricted to people only. Around 50 million tons of cargo is transported every year, representing a value of some $6.4 trillion, annually. Apart from transportation, the aviation industry provides more than 57 million jobs while amassing $2.2 trillion in economic undertakings. IATA places this industry in the 19th position of the GDP ranking of countries, as it contributes around $540 billion towards economic development.
David Siegel, CEO Frontier Airlines – “The first flight was just 18 miles long, but now look how far we can go. Perhaps in the future, experts will be designing futuristic propulsion systems. We could see innovations in aircraft design, local community-based air transport with smaller, higher efficiency aircraft.”
If we look at the scenario in India, passenger traffic and aircraft movement has increased in the last 3 years. Due to this a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3% for aircraft movement and 5.6% for total passengers was registered from FY11 to FY14. According to AAI (Airports Authority of India), the passengers, aircraft movements, and cargo at all Indian airports are expected to grow at the rate of 5.3%, 4.2%, and 5% respectively, in the next 5 years.
Looking at the employment scenario, the aviation job market is slated for an upgrade in FY15 with two new airlines entering the industry. One is a low-cost carrier which began in June 2014 – a joint venture of AirAsia with the Tatas, and the other is a full-service carrier started in the fourth quarter of 2014 – a joint venture of Tata and Singapore Airlines (SIA).
Careers in Airline Industry
A career in this industry pertains to all aspects of commercial flying like aircraft maintenance, piloting, and ticket sales. Depending on the job profile, all the jobs in airline industry require some form of training. It could be academic or hands-on training.
According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), ticket agents earn about $33,990 per annum. They basically:
⦁ Manage and arrange seat reservations for passengers
⦁ Print boarding passes
⦁ Register luggage
⦁ Receive payments
⦁ Prepare luggage for luggage handlers to put onto the cargo hold
⦁ Solve problems for passengers and employees.
⦁ Provide customer support service.
According to the BLS, aircraft mechanics earn about $55,980 per annum. They basically:
⦁ Inspect the aircraft engine, body, and associated instruments
⦁ Fix issues when the aircraft is on the ground
⦁ Focus on the maintenance of specific plane parts like turbine engines and related systems
Aircraft mechanics require a FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) license before working with passenger carrying planes.
According to the BLS, a commercial pilot makes about $74,470 every year. He is FAA licensed, always. He basically:
⦁ Operates the aircraft
⦁ Works with another licensed pilot (depending on the length and type of aircraft)
⦁ Communicates with air traffic controllers
⦁ Ensures safety of crew and passengers during flight
According to BLS, flight attendants make about $40,520 annually. They basically:
⦁ Brief passengers about safety protocols
⦁ Administer first aid
⦁ Take care of passenger well-being during the flight
⦁ Provide customer service
According to Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, “The first flight provided a short-cut across Tampa Bay. Today the aviation industry re-unites loved ones, connects cultures, expands minds, opens markets and fosters development. Aviation provides people around the globe with the freedom to make connections that can change their lives and the world”. True to this sentiment, the airline industry is only going to progress and evolve further with time. A job in any vertical of the airline industry is considered highly lucrative as it pays well. So if you think this sector appeals to you, make sure you become a part of it and contribute to the economic development of the country.
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