Despite a 33 percent increase in FAA-certificated mechanics last year, it wasn’t enough to put an end to the shortage of airframe and powerplant technicians, according to the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) 2022 Pipeline Report released today.
Last year, 6,929 people received their A&P certificates from the FAA, according to the report. While ATEC said it was the biggest increase in recent years, it was short of levels in 2019 and didn’t compensate for the 30 percent drop in certificates in 2020.
“The number of prospects in the mechanic pipeline needs to grow by at least 20 percent to meet the industry's needs,” said ATEC president and WSU Tech aviation program dean James Hall. “National enrollment at A&P schools is only growing at about 2 percent per year, so we have a lot of work to do.”
The ATEC report estimated that the pandemic cost the industry 5,000 new technicians. Among some of the report’s other findings were females accounted for 2.63 percent of the technician population, a number that is trending higher, but just slightly. And in 2021, major passenger and cargo airlines hired 25 percent of technician graduates, a 15 percent increase from 2020. If that trend continues, the report said, it will put more pressure on repair stations and regional airlines, which traditionally serve as the source for those technicians.