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Shortage of aviation mechanics means planes are staying grounded longer

Revv Aviation wants to add three aviation mechanics to its team to speed up time spent working on routine maintenance and repairs.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — As airlines continue to deal with delays and cancellations related to staffing shortages, consulting firm OliverWyman estimates in 2023 there will be a shortfall of between 12,000 and 18,000 aviation maintenance workers and predicts the shortage to worsen over the next 10 years. The firm estimates by 2027, there will be more than 48,000 maintenance workers needed.

Meanwhile, Boeing, in its 2022-41 Pilot and Technician Outlook, predicts 610,000 new aviation technicians will be needed globally through 2041.

"We're no different than any other company," said Revv Aviation CEO Guy Lieser. "We're looking for good mechanics all the time. We have programs and we're hiring."

Revv Aviation has a location at the airport in Davenport where it works to service planes for annual routine maintenance and unexpected repairs.

"We work on everything from like two-seater Cessna all the way up to an Airbus 320," said Director of Maintenance Matt Vanlandschot. "We do contract maintenance for the airlines in Moline all the way from Allegiant to United, Delta, American, so they call us up. We're on call for them 24/7 365 days."

Five mechanics, including Vanlandschot, make up the team. He said they're feeling impact of the nationwide shortage.

"We're hurting," he said. "I am probably short three mechanics right now."

Vanlandschot would like to have some people work in Revv Aviation's shop at the Quad Cities International Airport, but because of his smaller team, he has to keep them all in Davenport. That means when one of the airlines calls, they load everything up from Davenport and drive over there.

Being short staffed also means planes are staying on the ground longer.

"As far as the revenue airplanes, when they're down, we don't have enough people to work on them, they can't be up flying and making revenue," Vanlandschot said. "As far as customer airplanes, the general recreational airplanes, they have to wait longer for their airplanes."

Nationwide, it's also going to mean more flights getting delayed.

Revv Aviation is actively recruiting new talent to help, and also offers an apprenticeship program for mechanics.

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