Pilot shortage could mean big opportunities for young pilots and challenges for smaller airlines

News source from CTV News

A recent report is pointing to a major shortage of pilots on the horizon, and both pilots and carriers could be impacted.

In its 2018 report, the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace said Canada will need an additional 7300 pilots by 2025, but fewer than 1200 pilot licenses are issued each year in the industry. 

Pointing to factors like pilots choosing to leave the industry or the country, the report said fewer than 500 pilots end up being available to the Canadian aviation industry each year. 

If the trend continues, the shortage is expected to grow to about 3000 pilots by 2025. 

According to a Manitoba flight instructor, the shortage is already leading to career growth for young pilots. 

Having flown for 28 years, Adam Penner trains the next generation through his business Harv’s Flight Training in St. Andrews. 

Penner said pilots wanting to work for a commercial airline would need 1500 flight hours as well as an airline transport pilot license, and in the past those pilots would often spend years at small or regional carriers even after getting their 1500 hours. 

Because of the demand, Penner said there’s much more potential for pilots to work with commercial carriers if they want to. 

“In the past they’d have to beg, borrow and steal to get such opportunities,” said Penner. 

“If you’re young and wanting to fly, it’s awesome.” 

But Penner also said it will mean fewer pilots sticking around at regional and small airlines, as they’d done in the past. 

Amik Aviation operations manager Terrence Owen said he’s already noticed a shift in the applications that come across his desk.

“Starting to slow down, especially with the amount of resumes I get,” said Owen. 

Amik Aviation has float planes coming and going, and Owen said there’s less interest from young people in flying such planes. 

“The newer pilots are more interested in flying bigger planes, making a bit more money,” said Owen. 

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