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Why You Should Consider a Career in Aviation Management

The aviation industry has a fascinating and legendary past and will surely have a long and storied future. Many of the developments, old and new, reflect the complexity of business and operations involved in modern aviation management.

For those interested in learning about and working in this dynamic field, Henderson State University offers an online Master of Business Administration program with a concentration in Aviation Management. This degree program is uniquely designed to prepare students for high-level management careers in the aviation industry.

What Is Aviation Management?

ZipRecruiter defines aviation management as “the practice of coordinating and planning the logistics and operations of an airport, airline, or other industry within the field of aviation.”

This highlights the multifaceted nature of aviation management. Beyond airlines and airports, aviation management is central to industries like aircraft manufacturing, aerospace engineering and air cargo transport.

Any company that offers services and products surrounding air travel can fall under the umbrella of the aviation industry as a whole. Any managerial role within these sub-industries could be considered aviation management, be it airline fleet management, logistics, daily operations, project management, marketing or customer service.

What Are the Benefits of Studying and Working in Aviation Management?

As suggested by the variety of managerial positions within the industry, a main benefit of pursuing aviation management as a career is the job versatility it can provide.

Henderson State University’s online MBA in Aviation Management reflects the versatility of a career in aviation management. Program courses cover all business management functions, from finance and organizational strategy to business analytics and information systems management.

The breadth of business management knowledge and skills these courses provide is complemented by and integrated into concentration courses in airport management and aviation legislation. Studies examine the legal, operational and economic factors that impact and inform all management practices within the broader industry.

Plus, the aviation industry is a financial behemoth. Statista reports that the total operating revenue of the U.S. airline industry in 2019 was nearly $247.64 billion dollars. The airline industry drives a great deal more business in related industries, to the tune of 1.7 trillion dollars in U.S. economic activity and 10 million U.S. jobs, according to Airlines for America.

Given its financial stature, the aviation industry provides numerous opportunities for many types of management positions. Upper-level openings can be quite lucrative both in terms of salaries and the potential for bonuses and profit sharing. For the adventurous type, the industry can provide a great deal of opportunity for international travel and exciting experiences.

What Types of Jobs Are Available in Aviation Management?

Here are five examples of management jobs across aviation industry sectors. Salary information is from April 2021 unless noted otherwise.

Airport planners oversee various aspects of airport development including building and runway layout, renovation and the addition of new buildings. reports the average annual salary for airport planners is $118,233.

Tight security is crucial and mandated by law for airports. Hence, airport security managers play a vital role in daily operations. ZipRecruiter reports airport security managers make an average of $64,342 per year. But annual earnings can surpass $150,000 depending on the airport, region and experience and education of the worker.

Director-level roles and higher in air traffic control/management provide a career option with excellent salary prospects. This aviation management function coordinates the movement of aircrafts around airports and en route to destinations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics places the 2020 median salary for air traffic controllers at $130,420 per year.

MBA in aviation management studies are particularly applicable to aviation operations manager positions. These managers oversee functions surrounding safety, maintenance, scheduling and regulatory compliance. According to, the median annual salary for aviation operations managers is $174,000 plus bonuses and benefits.

As for career advancement through education and experience, aviation operations managers may work their way up to executive-level positions and enjoy the sizable income inherent in such roles. For instance, reports that the chief operations officer (COO) of United Airlines made roughly $850,000 in base pay in 2019. With other compensation like bonuses, stock awards and equity, that COO’s total 2019 compensation was $4,278,486.

Job variety is abundant in the field of aviation management, given its breadth of operational areas. Pay can be quite high for those who fill upper-level positions. Earning an MBA in aviation management can open the door to an array of captivating, lucrative and even adventurous career pursuits.

Learn more about Henderson State University’s online MBA program with a concentration in Aviation Management.


Airlines for America: State of U.S. Aviation

A Great Guide to Start Your Career in Aviation Management
An Overview of Different Aviation Positions
Aviation Operations Manager
2019 Compensation for Gregory L. Hart, COO of United Airlines

Statista: Net Profit of Commercial Airlines Worldwide From 2006 to 2021 Airport Planner Average Salary in USA 2021

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Air Traffic Controllers

What Is Aviation Management?
Airport Security Manager Salary

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