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  • Airlines are facing a shortage of maintenance workers that’s expected to worsen.
  • The shortage will mean higher costs for both airlines and consumers, experts say.
  • Maintenance companies are responding by raising wages and aggressively recruiting.

Commercial airlines, which are still recovering from a pandemic-induced historic drop in demand and coping with a shortage of pilots, are now facing a new issue: They don’t have enough maintenance workers. 

Experts told Insider that while this shortage didn’t create a safety risk, it could result in longer wait times for routine maintenance, which would mean higher costs for airlines — costs they’re likely to pass on to consumers via steeper fares. 

Over the next five years, this lack of technical staff could be the biggest disruptor for the maintenance industry, a survey conducted by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman found. Over the next two decades, the industry will need 626,000 new maintenance technicians globally, 132,000 in North America alone, according to estimates Boeing released last year.

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