The Sky’s the Limit in Aviation

An airplane takes off behind an air traffic control tower.

What are your career options in the aviation industry? There are a lot more options than just pilot, flight attendant, air traffic controller, baggage handler, or TSA agent.

The John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, New York, employs around 30,000 people. The number of employees at JFK is larger than the population of many American towns. At JFK, you’ll find people doing the jobs you’d expect to see anywhere, including snow removal, parking management, law enforcement, and electrical work on the airport's 80,000 lights. In other words, if you want to work in an airport setting, there is definitely a job for you in the aviation industry and it doesn’t have to involve flying a plane.

Ralph Tamburro, Delay Reduction Manager at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Click a button to watch an interview with Ralph Tamburro:

Working at the airport is just a small slice of what the aviation sector has to offer. Ralph Tamburro, who is a delay reduction manager at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, filled us in on interesting possibilities for people who want a career in aviation. How about working side-by-side with NASA, for instance?

“A lot of people don’t realize that NASA is involved in aviation,” Tamburro said. “They strictly think NASA’s space, and it’s not. NASA’s got a lot of involvement and has for many years. It’s exciting to work with them.”

Tamburro said he frequently meets with officials from NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration to talk about new technologies in aviation. That’s part of his job as someone who helps keep airports running smoothly and efficiently. In 2012, when NASA attached the Space Shuttle Discovery to a Boeing 747 for the famous shuttle’s final voyage to its permanent home at the Smithsonian, Tamburro played a key role in coordinating the 747’s journey through the skies.

“That was probably the highlight of my career,” he told Fast Forward.

The bottom line is that the aviation industry involves a lot more than just piloting aircraft. It takes thousands of people to operate a major airport, create the technology and innovation to make flying safe and efficient, and run the business of a major airline. In aviation, you can find your own niche doing what you do best and become part of an incredibly-coordinated system that allows families to get from Idaho to Hawaii in 6 hours and 21 minutes.

With such a variety of positions and responsibilities, aviation is a really cool industry to enter. It is full of long-term career prospects, whether you want to work at an airport, outside of an airport, or in the sky.

Make sure to check out the rest of this issue for more information on careers in the aviation industry!

Aaron Mack
Fast Forward: Volume 3 Issue 7 – Aviation