Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and about 20 companies operating there are trying to fill more than 400 openings with a job fair Wednesday.
The airport’s second annual jobs event, which will be held at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, was set for near the end of summer as the airport and its many businesses prepare for South Florida’s busy winter season when airlines typically add routes to handle the large number of travelers.
“We’ve encouraged FLL employers to participate in the job fair because as our business increases, it’s crucial to have sufficient staffing to provide great service to our guests,” said Mark Gale, CEO of the Broward County Aviation Department, the operator of the airport. “The job fair is a convenient venue for prospective employees to connect with a variety of airport businesses under one roof to match available employment opportunities with their skills and work experience.”
The push to hire hundreds more local airport workers comes at the tail end of a bumpy summer travel season here and around the nation. It’s been marked by staffing shortages and subsequent flight delays, cancellations and long lines at airports.
Demand for travel in South Florida has surged since pandemic public health safety measures were pulled back in 2020 and 2021, when Miami International Airport consistently outpaced passenger traffic numbers compared to 2019. Although consumers have started flying again in droves, persistent staffing shortages in the services industry have left airport businesses struggling to handle the influx of air travelers.
One reason Florida workers have said they aren’t returning to their pre-pandemic services jobs is the pay. A recently released survey from the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, which represents hundreds of people working at Florida airports, found that the average airport worker at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport only made $32,708 a year.
“On its face, a hiring fair and job growth at the Fort Lauderdale airport seems encouraging. Many people think these are direct airline jobs, but airlines long ago outsourced many of the essential airport and passenger service jobs to contractors through a race-to-the-bottom, lowest-bid process that leads to low wage and benefit standards,” said Helene O’Brien, Florida director of the Service Employees union.
“Not all jobs are created equal. If the jobs being offered by airline contractors are not good jobs, the airport and airlines will only continue to experience employee turnover, long wait times, and flight delays. Until airlines agree to raise wages and provide benefits, it will always be difficult to retain workers.”
A spokeswoman for Fort Lauderdale airport didn’t have information Monday about the pay range for the various open positions being offered at Wednesday’s job fair, but said there would be a range of opportunities.
For example, there are government jobs open at the airport with the Transportation Security Administration and Allied Universal, a subcontractor, plans to hire about 100 security officers.
FedEx Express needs about 60 more employees to work as warehouse material and package handlers at Fort Lauderdale airport. Gideon Toal Management Services, another subcontractor, is hiring people to staff a new lounge that will open there, including floor attendants, line cooks, concierge and kitchen attendants. JET Aircraft Maintenance is hiring 40 maintenance technicians. Spirit Airlines, the airport’s largest carrier, has 50 job openings, including in-flight workers such as flight attendants and first officers, as well as airport jobs like ramp service agents, guest service agents and crew schedulers.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport job fair, what to know if you go:
Where: FLA Live Arena (formerly BB&T Center), 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise
When: Aug. 17, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
What to wear: Dress professionally.
What to bring: Copies of your résumé and two forms of identification. Come prepared for on-site interviews.
Other information: Entry to the fair and parking are free. There will be food vendors there.