Aviation construction: my experience in this rewarding career

Airports are the gateway to new places and opportunities. They allow us to stay connected to family and loved ones, travel to new places and contribute to local economies. Airport construction keeps this connection possible by responding to increased demand, replacing aging infrastructure and improving the passenger experience.

The global commercial aviation fleet recently reached 98 percent of where it was pre-pandemic. Airlines are set to return to profitability, and aerospace manufacturers are preparing for a productive year. The worldwide commercial fleet is projected to expand 33 percent by 2033, and a record number of aircraft deliveries are anticipated over the next 10 years despite current supply chain constraints.

The backlog of planned and necessary infrastructure is $151 billion over the next five years—a 31 percent increase from 2021. The Federal Aviation Administration announced in February 2023 nearly $1 billion in airport funding, with over $139 million slated for eight airports in California.

As we see increases in travel, and thus constructing improvements and expansions to keep up with the demand for enhancing the passenger experience, here are some lessons I have learned while working in the aviation construction industry.

Construction aviation is a fulfilling and complex career

I entered the construction industry at a young age as a general laborer for my uncle’s residential construction company, eventually becoming a licensed contractor leading a construction crew. I have been in construction ever since and have focused almost solely on delivering aviation projects, overseeing $835 million of work as a superintendent. 


An airport rendering from a Skanska aviation proposal.


What drew me into the aviation market was the complexity and scale of the projects. Work occurs while airports are active with flights, passengers, visitors and employees. Additionally, each airport is run a little bit differently. All these factors mean that every airport job has a specific focus, allowing me to solve new challenges daily and providing me with variety in my role. 

Construction in the aviation sector is excellent if you want a new set of daily challenges that helps you learn and grow in your construction career. It's not every day that you have to shut down a 5000-amp power switch that will black out an entire terminal in order to tackle an electrical upgrade. Something as simple as changing the routing could affect millions of airport travelers. The significant challenges and impacts of airport work make it a very exciting typology to construct. 

Aviation construction projects improve local economies

I grew up in Inglewood, California—just 15 minutes from LAX. The most notable buildings of my childhood were LAX and the Great Western Forum, the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers. Throughout the 80s, these iconic buildings were in millions of movies, and I was proud that my neighborhood represented Los Angeles. These iconic buildings inspired me to construct world-class airports that act as a front door to many cities and hubs.


(Left) Evan as a child. (Right) An airport hangar Evan worked on.


With the aviation projects I’ve worked on, I’ve constructed iconic buildings and provided access to work opportunities that filter local dollars more directly into the community. It’s been rewarding to have directly mentored multiple laborers, often helping secure full-time employment for apprentices. 

Airport work is complex—learn from the best

My advice to tradespeople or new college graduates seeking to break into aviation construction is to first believe in yourself to try something different and connect with others in the field. I often encounter people interested in construction, but they have yet to apply or engage in conversations with people in the industry.

In advance of pursuing opportunities in aviation, push yourself to learn as much as possible about the industry, read stories you come across and ask questions to learn aspects of the industry you don't know. Airport work is complex, and diligent industry research is in your best interest to jumpstart progress. The more research you conduct, the more adept you’ll become at acquiring experience to address future challenges.

Aviation construction is a rewarding and exciting career, and as the sector continues to grow, so will the opportunities for new talent to enter the world of aviation construction.

More information about Skanska’s aviation work