The aviation industry continues to experience dynamic change in terms of technological advancement, customer behavior and expectations, regulatory environment, and workforce. As airports and their stakeholders strive to respond to these changes in a sustainable and resilient manner, they are recognizing the importance of considering equity and environmental justice for underrepresented populations in every aspect of decision making. ACRP’s recent Insight Event on Systemic Inequalities in the Airport Industry highlighted that, while airports are striving to address systemic racism as well as diversity, equity and inclusion, there remain considerable challenges. One key challenge is the lack of robust data. For example, there is no large-scale demographic (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, career stage) database of airport workers and wages. This data is critical if the industry’s workforce is to be ready for the new trends in aviation (e.g., uncrewed aircraft systems, Internet of Things, commercial space). Airports also need guidelines to help create policies and procedures that promote livable wages. In addition, with airports offering significant business opportunities, it is important to assess current efforts to promote participation in these opportunities by disadvantaged businesses. Lastly, as these research efforts may be viewed as establishing baselines, means of regularly updating the data need to be identified and evaluated to ensure that progress can be measured.
The three objectives of this research are to (1) establish a database of the current airport workforce (including information on demographics and wages) and recommend a process for regular updates and tracking; (2) develop guidelines to help airports create policies and procedures to promote livable wages for employees working at and for airports; and (3) assess current efforts to promote participation of disadvantaged businesses in airport contracting opportunities.