"The number of Commercial Pilot Licences issued in Canada has declined by more than 80 per cent since 2019, even as aviation experts warn of an ever-growing labour shortage that threatens to disrupt Canada’s airline industry.
Transport Canada numbers show that the number of Commercial Pilot Licences awarded each year was relatively consistent for much of the past decade, averaging 1,116 licences annually between the years 2012 and 2019.
With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, however, those numbers fell off a cliff — to 474 licences that year and then declining even further to 293 in 2021 and 238 in 2022."
"A commercial pilots’ licence is needed to legally work as a pilot in Canada, and getting one requires a combination of ground school study as well as a minimum of 200 hours of flight training.
Further steps are required to become an airline pilot, as holders of commercial pilots’ licences must still undergo additional training and flying time before they can receive their Airline Transport Pilot Licence."
"Even before the pandemic, a pilot shortage was brewing in Canada due to a variety of factors including an aging workforce and the rapid proliferation of new discount airlines that are putting pressure on the labour supply.
A 2018 report by the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace
said that a third of flight operators in the country at that time cited pilots as their biggest skills shortage.
The report said the need for experienced pilots was beginning to outpace the available national supply, and projected the industry would need an additional 7,300 pilots."
"The pilot shortage in this country is real, and it threatens to be a real drag on the Canadian economy."
"With their promise of cheaper fares and no unnecessary frills, a flurry of so-called discount airlines has burst onto the Canadian scene in the last few years.
But experts say the low-cost airline model is exacerbating an already existing pilot shortage that could become an even bigger problem for this country’s aviation industry in the years to come."
"“If I have a new airline that starts up with 10 airplanes, I theoretically need about 200 pilots,” said Mike Doiron, president of Moncton, N.B.-based Doiron Aviation Consulting.
“And getting new pilots trained doesn’t happen overnight, even though the demand for pilots has skyrocketed.”
A pilot shortage has been brewing in Canada for years, based on a variety of factors including an aging workforce, pandemic-related layoffs and early retirements, and spiralling training costs. (Becoming a commercial pilot can now cost upwards of $100,000, discouraging some young people from entering the profession, experts say)."
"A 2018 report by the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace
said that a third of flight operators in this country at that time cited pilots as their biggest skills shortage. The report said the need for experienced pilots is beginning to outpace the available national supply, and projected the industry will need an additional 7,300 pilots by 2025.
“There’s only maybe 15,000 to 20,000 pilots in the entire system right now, so that’s a pretty significant number,” Doiron said.
He added that some small airlines are already lowering their hiring standards — reducing the amount of flying hours they would normally require a pilot to have, or considering applicants who don’t have university degrees — in order to be competitive in the labour market."
"The Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) estimates the industry will face a shortage of 6,000 pilots over the next 20 years, due to low wages for new pilots and the high cost of training.
The industry is also expanding. According to Transport Canada, between 2010 and 2016, airlines added more than 2,200 new aircraft."
"“It’s a major issue not only in Canada but worldwide and the problem is growing annually,” says John McKenna, president and CEO of ATAC.
“The major impact is mostly on smaller communities, because they’re served by the regional carriers and they’re feeling the pinch a lot more than the major carriers, because their pilots are scooped up by the larger carriers and they’re having a hard time finding replacements.”"
“Some smaller carriers like Air Canada Jazz wouldn’t even talk to you if you had less than 1,000 hours.
Now, if you have 200 hours, they at least want to get you into their system.”
McKenna suggests solutions to the problem include attracting more women to the industry, more funding for expensive training, and to let former instructors hired away by airlines to continue to train during their down time.
A report released in April 2018 by the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace (CCAA) estimates Canada should be producing an extra 300 pilots a year to meet demand of a growing air travel industry.
The report also warns how demand for new hires for expansion and replacement of retirees could mean a shortfall of 6,000 pilots by 2036.
Projections show the industry will need an additional 7,300 pilots by 2025.
Less than 1,200 new commercial pilot licences were issued in 2016 and almost half of those were issued to international students.
The 1,200 figure is down 28 per cent from the 2009 peak of 1,645 licences.
To compound the issue, only about 70 per cent of these new pilots choose to remain in the industry, which translates to fewer than 500 new pilots being available to Canadian aviation each year.
If this continues, there will be a shortage of close to 3,000 pilots by 2025."
2022 will be the best airline pilot job market in history by a factor of at least two.
The most pilots hired in a single year by the Majors in the past has been 5,000
and this year could approach 15,000!
Things are happening that have never happened before and it is not over yet.
Regional airlines are still raising pay and increasing bonuses!
"Crazy good news for pilots!"
If you meet minimums you should apply at the Majors.
If you are close you should apply at the regionals.
Some regionals are losing 5% of their pilots each month.
That is 60% for the year. Something has got to give.
All the old barriers are going to be removed and new incentives will be introduced to attract the pilots they need.
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