WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — It’s not just restaurants and schools feeling the staffing pinch. Wichita’s largest industry is struggling to fill the void. Aviation companies, from plane builders to the airport, are still seeking employees following the pandemic.

Since the pandemic, staffing in some sectors of the aviation industry has yet to return to what it used to be. A job fair hosted by Eisenhower National Airport on Tuesday shed light on the staffing struggles that remain.

“I certainly don’t have too much experience about aviation or anything like that, but yeah, everyone has been friendly so far,” said Adrian Emanuel, who attended Tuesday’s job fair.

According to the Aerospace Industries Association, the pandemic grounded much of the aviation industry. It lost more than 87,000 workers and is still working on getting those workers back. A spokesperson for Bombardier said they currently have 200 openings in Wichita, and Eisenhower Airport is also looking to hire three more people.

“We’ve had a lot of vacancies that have directly impacted operations. So we want to make sure that we’re fully ramped up in advance of snow season for snow removal as well as some other critical functions,” said Jesse Romo, the director of airports for the Wichita Airport Authority.

This job fair provided an opportunity for the airport to find new employees, and people like Unique Esquer an opportunity to find a new job.

“I want to just get my foot in the door, and that is fine with me. I can build from there,” said Esquer.

The same goes for Nicholas Thorp. He was in the medical field for years, and now, he hopes an aviation career will soon take flight.

“It is always good if you can try to think outside of the box. Try to do something different because the expertise that you might bring might blend well with a company that is looking,” said Thorp.

More than 20 aviation-related companies were at the job fair Tuesday, and it was popular. So many people were waiting before doors opened that they decided to open the event early.

If you would like to apply to the openings at the airport, click here.