The Australian government foresees a shortage of aviation personnel in the long run, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a main factor for deterring new entrants.

The government says there was a shortage of skilled pilots and maintenance engineers prior to the pandemic, because of Asia Pacific carriers expanding, but now it foresees that labour shortages could emerge again as the industry recovers. 

Airlines downsized their workforce during the pandemic, but demand for aviation professionals remains strong in the longer term, it says.

The government says one reason labour shortages may be an issue in future is because the pandemic has caused many workers to leave the aviation industry. Some have retired and others now work in other industries that are more stable. 

Ongoing uncertainty and volatility will deter new entrants to the industry, it says, adding that flight training schools and international borders being closed for extended periods have hampered students’ ability to complete their courses.

The government highlights that it has helped the aviation industry with schemes such as: Aviation Services Accreditation Support, International Aviation Support and Retaining Domestic Airline Capability to help tide the industry over in the short term, while working to address longer term issues.

A government commissioned report from an expert panel suggested boosting the aviation training sector to support training and retention of aviation professionals.

It adds there is a need to review, streamline and align regulatory pathways and frameworks.

The government says it will work with the aviation industry to determine how best to address these issues and promote the sector to build a reliable supply of ‘fit-for-purpose’ workforce skills, while recognising that Australian aviation skills will be the engine that drives industry growth in the country and abroad.

The government says it is also channeling an additional A$4 million (U$2.9 million) in funding for its Women in Aviation Initiative to further address the barriers to female participation in the aviation workforce, and promote more female engagement in the industry.

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