Skilled worker shortage becoming a concern in Kansas

? A shortage of skilled workers is a growing concern for companies that repair and maintain airplanes in Kansas.

Lynn Nichols, who has a fixed-base operation, Yingling Aviation, which does aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, told The Wichita Eagle that there’s a tight labor market for aviation skill sets.

Nichols said there is an increased demand for airframe and powerplant mechanics, and avionics technicians.

“We need more just to keep up with the growth in aerospace,” said Nichols.

The 2018 Global Fleet & MRO Market Assessment estimates the global aviation maintenance market will grow to $114 billion in 2028 from $77.4 billion this year.

The report commissioned by the Aeronautical Repair Station Association also shows a shortage of aircraft mechanics less than four years from now. According to the report there will be a 10 percent shortage of mechanics by 2028.

“We can now point to 2022 as the year of reckoning,” said Brett Levanto, ARSA’s vice president of communications. “Seeing clear analysis showing that a shortfall of aviation maintenance talent in the very near future needs to move us to action now.”

A tight supply of aircraft maintenance workers is already becoming an issue for Textron Aviation, the maker of Cessna and Beechcraft airplanes, which depend on a steady supply of airframe and powerplant mechanics and avionics technicians for its chain of aircraft service centers.

“I would say we are currently feeling the impact today,” said Maggie Topping, Textron Aviation HR business leader.

Topping and Nichols said people with an airframe and powerplant mechanic skillset are frequently recruited by companies in diverse industries such as wind energy and locomotive manufacturing.

“It’s very competitive right now,” Topping said.