August 23, 2023
The week of August 19 is National Aviation Week, which celebrates the history of aviation. From modest beginnings, air transportation has grown into a large industry, transporting 852 million passengers on 8.2 million scheduled flights in 2022, as well as moving over 51 billion ton-miles of cargo. In honor of National Aviation Week, let’s look at some types of jobs related to air transportation and what they pay.
The air transportation industry, which includes transporting both passengers and freight on scheduled and nonscheduled flights, had employment of over 492,000 in May 2022. There were an additional 225,880 jobs in support activities for air transportation, such as air traffic control, airport operations, baggage and cargo handling services, and aircraft maintenance and repair services.
Three occupations combined made up over half of employment in air transportation: flight attendants (106,000); airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers (77,280); and reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks (75,270). The largest occupations in support activities for air transportation were aircraft mechanics and service technicians (39,660); laborers and hand freight, stock, and material movers (17,590); and aircraft service attendants (13,410).
The air transportation industry had an annual mean wage of $92,940, more than $30,000 above the U.S. average of $61,900 for all industries combined. The high overall average wage in air transportation was due partly to high wages for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers, which had an annual mean wage of $229,230 in this industry. The largest occupation in air transportation, flight attendants, had an annual mean wage of $67,180; reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks had an annual mean of $48,910.
In support activities for air transportation, aircraft mechanics and service technicians had an annual mean wage of $62,510, similar to the U.S. average wage of $61,900. Laborers and hand freight, stock, and material movers ($37,980) and aircraft service attendants ($37,780) had below-average wages.These data are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program. For more information, see the OEWS data for air transportation and support activities for air transportation. Data on passengers, number of flights, and cargo are from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics at the U.S. Department of Transportation and include U.S. air carriers only. Cargo revenue ton-miles represent one ton of freight or mail for which a charge is paid, carried for one mile. To learn more about BLS data on aviation, visit “Come Fly with BLS” on our Commissioner’s Corner blog.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, A look at jobs related to air transportation for National Aviation Week at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2023/a-look-at-jobs-related-to-air-transportation-for-national-aviation-week.htm (visited August 24, 2023).