Airlines Cash In as Flexible Work Changes Travel Patterns
Airline networks are experimenting with how to profit from the shifting travel patterns of American workers as they become ever more mobile. Some programs have set aside $24 million to lure workers from traditional jobs into higher-paying, flexible assignments.
But many traditional jobs are still out of reach, with airline employees often struggling to find work in their chosen fields.
Some are being lured from traditional jobs and into temporary, short-term, and contract positions. Others are being forced out of traditional jobs at airports, such as flight attendant, pilot or mechanic.
At airports where these workers are needed as air traffic controllers, there are even fewer jobs. Many work in the field as crew mechanics, but with the closure of the Chicago Loop Air Traffic Control Tower, it is likely many find themselves in other jobs.
The trend toward temporary, contract, and contract work has been a hot topic in recent years. It has been credited with spurring a surge in air transportation, which resulted in an increase in passenger traffic on nearly every US carrier.
Air travel, which used to be handled by the Federal Aviation Administration, is now overseen by the National Air Traffic Controllers Agency (NATC).
This agency is the single controller for the nation’s airports. These controllers are charged with ensuring that aircraft flights are managed and controlled, to the point of avoiding the catastrophic scenario where a full-size airliner with 1,000 or more people on board flies into an airport. But because of frequent changes in flight plans, they also oversee these processes at the ground level.
This is the same agency that oversees flight operations at the nation’s airports.
NATC controllers travel to the airports several times each day, keeping an eye on operations, issuing air traffic control advisories and other necessary or needed guidance, and issuing “controls” to control tower pilots, who control the airspace around airports