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On Nov. 6, during the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) conference, Air Georgian officially launched its SOAR program for aviation career awareness, recruitment and retention.
In conjunction with the launch, Air Georgian held a workshop with partnered schools, operators and Air Canada management where they announced three new SOAR initiatives. Air Canada’s senior management in attendance spoke about hiring plans and the Pilot Mobility Agreement (PMA) between Air Georgian and Air Canada.
“Air Canada hires many of its pilots from its regional express partners who provide us with well qualified pilots to join our ranks,” said Bruce Campbell, director of AQP and pilot recruitment at Air Canada. “The SOAR program is an excellent opportunity for young pilots to gain valuable experience with Air Canada Express partner Air Georgian.”
Jeslene Bryant, SOAR coordinator, introduced the new mentor, cadet and instructor programs. The programs–exclusive to SOAR partners–create a career pathway for pilots and students into the Air Canada network.
“We are excited about the opportunities these programs bring to students, instructors and our partners,” said Bryant. “The positive feedback received during the workshop was overwhelming. SOAR has grown into a remarkable program, and we are looking forward to its continuous development.”
“Air Georgian’s vision and commitment is impressive,” said Cedric Paillard, president and chief executive officer of Ottawa Aviation Services. “A first step in solving some of the issues we [flight schools] are experiencing.”
Air Georgian’s mentor program will provide low-time pilots and recent flight school graduates an operational support role that will transition into a first officer position after one year. This experience, combined with mentorship and training, was received during the operations support period. It creates a unique opportunity for candidates and prepares them for a successful transition to a flying position.
The cadet program takes aspiring pilots from zero flight experience to a commercial pilot’s licence with a multi-IFR rating. Training will be provided to all cadets by one select SOAR partnered flight school.
All candidates will be subject to a highly competitive screening and selection process. Once selected, cadets will be assigned a SOAR ambassador who will mentor the candidate through their training. Upon graduation, provided performance related conditions are met, pilots will be offered a first officer position with Air Georgian.
The program is focused on attracting students interested in a career as a pilot, and it is designed to give preference to those that have not been able to pursue their dreams due to financial constraints.
The instructor program allows pilots to build hours and gain valuable pilot-in-command experience while providing them with a defined pathway into the Air Canada network.
Air Georgian will conduct an extensive vetting process with SOAR partner flight schools to identify highly qualified candidates to be interviewed independently by the school and Air Georgian. Air Georgian will cover the cost of the selected candidate’s flight instructor rating.
Upon instructor rating completion, pilots will instruct at their respective SOAR partner flight school for 12 to 18 months. Afterwards, they will transition to a first officer position with Air Georgian.
Air Canada’s Pilot Mobility Agreement
All Air Georgian pilots are guaranteed an interview with Air Canada through the PMA. Once Air Georgian pilots meet the minimum criteria, they are eligible to add their name to the pilot mobility list (PML), guaranteeing them an interview with Air Canada.
Air Canada has committed to hire 80 per cent of its pilots through Air Georgian’s PML and other Air Canada Express partners.