NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Airlines across the country are scrambling to find employees for the aviation industry, but North Dakotans may be here to help.

Currently, the aviation industry is in desperate need of employees, both inside and outside of the cockpit.

The interesting thing is that the industry actually saw this coming before it even happened.

“The airlines offered early retirement or buyout packages to some of their crews, or some of their employees. They were planning on, they thought about four percent of those employees would take this early buyout, on industry average it was actually double that,” said Overland Aviation President, Tanner Overland.

Recently, Overland, along with many other flight schools, have noticed a huge uptick in people seeking a career in aviation, including here in North Dakota.

Even though the pilot shortage is very real, the industry as a whole is looking for far more than just pilots.

“Aircraft won’t fly unless we have gate agents to load onto commercial aircraft, mechanics to work on airplanes, so it is an industry-wide problem,” added Overland.

There have been about 6,500 pilots licensed per year for the past couple of years according to the FAA.

Aviation is seeing an 18,000 pilot per year shortfall, says Overland.

With that being said, it’s going to take a while for aviation to climb out of this hole.

“To start with what we call zero time, meaning there’s obviously no flight time, to where you’re flying for an airline, that could take three to five years, now it is depending on what type of program you go through,” said Overland

For those who want to enter the aviation industry, Overland says to make sure that you have a passion because it is a challenge.

If you are interested in aviation and how to get involved here in our state, visit the Overland Aviation website.