A trade organization that represents the interests of U.S.-based airlines in Washington, including American Airlines, has claimed its members not only employ more American workers than a year ago but that U.S. aviation jobs are the highest they’ve been since 2000.
The stats, which were released by Airlines for America (A4A) come a week after a major trade union claimed American Airlines was offshoring engineering roles to foreign maintenance facilities that don’t have the same safety rules or oversight that would be expected in the United States.
But Airlines for America says U.S. passenger and cargo airlines now employ some 720,000 American men and women – that’s around 2.9% higher than a year ago. On top of that, they also claim wage growth in the aviation industry is outstripping the rest of the labor market – the average wage for aviation workers now stands at $80,000 or 46% higher than the average wage in the private sector.
“Airlines recently reported the 58th consecutive month of employment gains,” explained Rebecca Spicer, who is in charge of communications at A4A. “These are well-paying jobs with good benefits.”
Spicer claimed U.S. passenger airlines spent $37 billion on wages and benefits in just the first nine months of 2018 – an increase of $2.1 billion on the same period last year.
But Spicer didn’t disclose how those average wage figures could be distorted by relatively small numbers of very well paid employee groups like pilots – an issue that is common across the aviation industry.
The Transport Workers Union, which represents some workers at American Airlines recently labelled the carrier, “UnAmerican Airlines” over its plans to send U.S. registered planes to overseas maintenance facilities. The union claims nearly 50% of maintenance work by value on U.S. aircraft is already undertaken in facilities outside of the United States.
Concerns have been raised about the lack of qualified engineers at some of these facilities, as well as varying regulations and inadequate training.
Other members of the Airlines for America lobby group include United, Southwest and Alaska Airlines. The group says it “vigorously advocates” on behalf of the entire U.S. aviation industry in Congress and the Administration