Pilot Pathways Project

Feb 2, 2023 - Update

Next Steps:

  • Sophia to meet with the Strategic Aviation Advisory Council (SAAC) meeting bringing the proposal that they pitch the following to the AB government
    • In 2018, the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace reported that the industry will need 7,300 pilots by 2025. Following this report, 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. (Source: https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/number-of-commercial-pilot-licences-issued-in-canada-has-collapsed-since-2019-1.6238793)
  • A massive barrier to entry for pilots into the aviation industry is the high costs associated with training. This is exacerbated by the lack of funding support available for students to obtain their Private Pilot License (PPL). The PPL costs an individual up to $30,000 and is a prerequisite to beginning the Commercial Pilot License (CPL), which allows someone to work for hire as a pilot.
  • The SAAC, in support of the Edmonton Flying Club’s Pilot Pathways Project, recommends Alberta Student Aid make student loan funding available to those looking to obtain their PPL with the intention of continuing on to their CPL. To assist in ensuring only those with the intention of obtaining their CPL are funded, the following caveats could apply:
  • Requirement to show proof of enrollment in both PPL and CPL programs at a flight school
    Flight schools show verification that the student continued on to CPL training within 6 months of completing the PPL
    Higher interest rate to pay back loan, if the student does not continue to CPL program (some exceptions could apply, such as loss of aviation medical or other unavoidable circumstance)
  • Continue work on multi-crew course and test it with EFC graduates destined for companies, such as CanWest Air.
  • Explore opportunities with Canadian Job Grant to help fund a multi-crew course for those destined for airline operations (703/704/705) or to offset instructor training costs for those seeking to start a career as a flight instructor.
  • Draft pilot pathways document(s) to guide CPL graduates with support from industry partners to honor a mutually beneficial system focused on building careers.

Project Summary

Our proposed “Pilot Pipeline Project” directly supports Alberta’s aviation sector (NAICS: Air Transport and Aviation – 481). Industry needs that align with this project include a critical pilot shortage, a disconnect between pilot graduation and hiring requirements, financial barrier to entry for students, and Alberta’s economic recovery.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan prioritizes the aviation and aerospace sector as a strategy to diversify the economy. The plan states that the government will work with post- secondary institutions and private sector investors to address the massive shortage in trained pilots and maintenance personnel within the aviation sector.

Our project aligns with the provincial Recovery Plan, as well as two of the LMP priorities for 2021/2022. Specifically, this project will encourage workforce development in the aviation sector as identified in Alberta’s Recovery Plan. It will also assist job creators in increasing employment through attraction and retention initiatives and in the long term, increase industry capacity to build a resilient workforce.

With 94 years of organizational experience, the Edmonton Flying Club is a trusted and experienced leader in Alberta aviation. Our experience, knowledge, and connections make us well qualified to lead this project and help aviation in Alberta take a massive step forward on its road to industry and workforce recovery.