The past few years have been difficult for those employed in commercial aviation in the United States, as a wave of industry furloughs and layoffs eliminated 90,000 jobs by the end of 2020. As the pandemic has nearly halted aviation, the airlines lobbied for and received a $25 billion bailout package from the federal government, made up in part of loans. Nonetheless, COVID-19 has been a blow to the industry, resulting in the lowest level of airline employment in decades.
There was some hope when millions of Americans started flying again in the summer and fall of 2021. Meanwhile, more Americans were getting their shots and the desire to get back to normal prompted many to plan trips again. However, travelers also said goodbye to pandemic-induced near-empty cheap flights and highly flexible booking options. Travel returning to full throttle resulted in long security queues followed by frustrated passengers.
As airlines and the Transportation Safety Administration had laid off many employees in previous months, the industry faced staffing shortages at airports and airlines often could not meet renewed passenger demand. . When more airline employees returned to work, flight attendants faced erratic schedules and sometimes reduced flight times. The current pilot shortage has been exacerbated by the freeze on training and hiring, after many airlines offered pilots early retirement to cut labor costs.
Today, the aviation industry seems to be experiencing a slow recovery. In February 2022, US airlines served 613,702 flights, compared to 407,441 flights in February 2021. Nearly 55 million passengers flew in February 2022, more than double the number in February 2021. Delta Airlines returned to profitability in March. 2022.
Bounce collected 2030 job projection data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and compared it to 2021 occupational employment and wage data to see what the aviation industry looks like today across various occupations. .