The Big Debate: ‘How do we get our people back?’ – tackling the critical skills crisis engulfing aviation across the Americas

29 March 2022 11:15 - 12:30

Skills shortages have gone from bad to worse with the aftershock of the Covid pandemic across our industry. Many furloughed or laid off employees are lost forever after finding more flexible, better paid and less physically arduous jobs in rival sectors. The drought in employee talent is leading to cancellations, delayed services and invites serious safety concerns. So, how can members of our proud aviation community step up to the skills challenge and restore the appeal of a job that was once considered a cut above the rest? Panel topics include:

• The current climate and counting the cost: operators give their first-hand experiences of the skills crisis, Covid-linked absences and the consequences on KPIs.
• Incentivisation/reward/benefits/pay: what are the most cost-effective tools and mechanisms that can help us boost the appeal of working within aviation?
• We’re in this together: a unified approach to improving recruitment and retention across airport stakeholder groups and how could this work?
• ‘Mum, dad – I want to work in aviation’: selling our sector to the next generation. How do we connect with future employees and better showcase the career pathways from crew room to board room?
• Recruitment and retention strategies: adapting hiring strategies to the social media age and what leadership teams can do to reduce shopfloor turnover
• Digital innovations and robotics: the role of technology in boosting aviation’s appeal and upskilling the operative/PCA role.
• Training and development: creating defined training plans and the business benefits of a skills strategy

Do you have a skills challenge or solution that you want to share with our panel? Email

David Barker, Chief Executive Officer - USA, dnata

Lawrence Massaro, Senior VP of Aviation, Eulen America

Mike Garland, Director Airport and Corporate Procurement, American Airlines

Nirmala Ramai, Chief Operations Officer, Caribbean Airlines

Emir Pineda, Section Chief Passenger,Trade & Logistics Development - Marketing Division, Miami International Airport