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Airline industry looks to fill jobs as labor shortages lead to canceled flights

Lots of jobs are available in the airline industry, if you're looking for one.
Lots of jobs are available in the airline industry, if you're looking for one.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Now that travel is rebounding, a new problem is taking flight — staffing shortages across the airline industry.

Hundreds of American Airlines customers faced canceled flights over the weekend, which the airline attributed to both weather and labor shortages with some vendors.

American says that, depending on the operational need, they may cancel at least 50 to 60 flights a day systemwide for the rest of June, and between 50 to 80 flights per day in early July.

“Customers are able to receive a full refund when the schedule change is more than four hours from their original departure time,” the airline said.

An American Airlines spokeswoman said weather out of hubs including Miami, Dallas and Charlotte have been a factor in their recently canceled flights.

“All previously furloughed team members were recalled in December 2020 in accordance with the extension of the Payroll Support Program. The biggest issue with crew shortage is weather,” the spokeswoman said. “In the first 15 days of June, we saw nine days of bad weather that have impacted at least one of our hubs. Major weather can have lasting impact on our crews as many exceed their eligible work time or need to be rerouted based on flight changes. While we have reserves, bad weather can quickly cause us to exhaust these additional crew resources.”

The Transportation Security Administration — which earlier this month surpassed 2 million daily travelers screened for the first time since March 2020 — is also looking to increase its staff, hosting hiring events across the country. In some cases, TSA is offering new hires $1,000 as a recruitment incentive.

[Click here for more info on TSA jobs]

“TSA said it would hire, you know, 6,000 new agents, however, they’ve been able to hire about 3,000,” said Everett Kelley, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees TSA union. “We think that is highly impossible to hire the remainder before this 4th of July holiday.”

Also hiring are aviation support service vendors that employ baggage workers, ramp workers and cabin cleaning services.

Eulen America has two upcoming job fairs for prospective workers at Miami International Airport. They are participating in Wednesday’s large job fair at Miami Dade College in Hialeah. Then they will hold their own job fair July 8 at their headquarters near the airport.

Eulen America is holding a job fair at Miami International Airport where applicants can interview on the spot. (Eulen America)

Director of Operations Bill Kilduff says Eulen is are looking for baggage workers, cabin cleaners and ticket-checkers, offering a $1,000 sign-on bonus and $200 referral incentive.

“Staffing has been a very, very big challenge here. It’s probably our largest challenge and we have been trying to hire in a whole bunch of different ways,” he said. “It could be the unemployment, it could be people scared of OVID, but it has been a challenge, not just for us, it’s our competitors, the airlines, and all the service providers within the airport.”

Kilduff said they have over 100 positions and that he was recruited in just the same way.

“It can be a person looking for their first job who wants to get introduced to the airline industry. It could also be somebody who is a student and just wants to supplement a little income while they are going to school, and it could be anyone along the way who just needs a part-time or full-time job and there are so many different jobs we have,” he said. “There is a job for everyone who wants one.”

Last march Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava rescinded a notice terminating Eulen America’s permit to do business at MIA after reaching an agreement to “create safe working environment for employees.”

[Click here for more info on Eulen jobs]


About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."