Career Options in Airlines

Careers in Airlines

About Airlines Industry:

The airlines industry primarily deals with transporting passengers and cargo via airplanes. According to the International Air Transport Association, the airline industry is responsible for about 8 percent GDP globally through shipping, tourism, and business travel. Even though the airlines industry contributes heavily to the world commerce, this industry has undergone dizzying ups and downs now and then. The main reason for this is, it reacts to regulatory modification and market condition.

Airlines were worst hit by the 9/11 attack in 2001. However, the airlines industry are starting to come out of it. According to IATA, airlines companies have started implementing several security measures which costs them around $5.6 billion per annum. Other problem that airlines are facing includes some issues with labor unions, difficulty with underfinanced pensions, a threat of bankruptcies and higher jet fuel. When all these issues will be resolved, then the airlines industry will develop.

In 1905, Wright Brothers first flew a plane successfully. After that, the airlines industry never looked back. Airplanes were largely used for military purposes, initially. It was extensively used in World War I for surveying, bombing and aerial battle. When the World War was over, U.S. found that they had many airplanes and pilots who had nothing to do. So, they started the postal or mail service from New York to San Francisco in 1918.

After World War II, the airlines industry brought forth many developments as far as the Civil Aviation transportation was concerned. Initially, it intended to make planes that were bigger, faster and capable of carrying heavy payloads, and also able to fly at high altitudes. In 1970, supersonic air travel was introduced with much advancement. However, supersonic Concorde had a single crash in 2000. Due to the 9/11 attacks, the supersonic airline stopped functioning with effect from October 2003.

Career Paths in Airlines

Following are the various career paths in the airline industry:

Flight attendants:

Flight attendants are both men and women. However, they differ in personality, age, and background. Recently, age restrictions were abolished. The primary responsibility of flight attendants is the safety and security of the passengers.

There is stiff competition for flight attendant jobs at leading airline companies. However, domestic airlines and carriers prove to be a good option to start your flight attendant career. As per the statistics of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), flight attendants receive an average salary of $44,680 per annum.

Flight attendants have to undergo several weeks of training. After the 9/11 terror attack, flight attendants are instructed in the art of self-defense.


In the U.S., experienced or senior pilots receive the topmost salaries. As per the statistics of BLS in 2004, the average salary for pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers was $137,160. Since pilots are highly paid, there is keen competition for securing this job.

It is necessary for pilots to have a commercial pilot's license along with a medical certificate. Pilots must have a good vision and should be physically fit. Also, he should be certified to operate the airplanes that are used by the airline company.

Generally, there is a pilot and co-pilot to fly a plane. There is a senior pilot also called the 'captain' who monitors all the crew members. The pilot and co-pilot share the task of flying the plane. They also share other responsibilities like supervising the machines and conversing and coordinating with air traffic controllers for flight instructions.

On-Ground Airlines Career:

If you are not interested in an on-plane job or are scared of flying, then you can select a ground job in the airline industry. On ground airlines, careers include mechanics, technicians, baggage handlers, finance associates, ticket agents, travel clerks, customer care representatives, reservation representatives, and reservations agents. The education qualification and skills vary according to the airline career that you are applying for. However, most of the positions require a strong computer knowledge.

Please refer to the following articles regarding the Airlines Career:

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