Canada’s pilot shortage among most-read topics of 2017

MHM Publishing Press Release | December 22, 2017

Estimated reading time 7 minutes, 49 seconds.

This past year was one of many challenges for Canada’s aviation and aerospace industries, but also one of many triumphs.

Nose-on view of jet aircraft
It’s been projected that Canada will need thousands of new pilots and maintenance workers over the next few years. Jan Jasinski Photo

Among the challenges: companies are beginning to feel the effects of the global pilot shortage, as well as a shortage of maintenance personnel.

Uncertainty about the future of Bombardier’s C Series continues to hang over thousands of Canadians who contribute parts and labour to the program. A petition from Boeing could see duties of 292.21per cent levied on C Series sold in the United States.

That dispute prompted Canada’s federal government to scrap plans to buy new Super Hornet fighter jets from Boeing to fix a capability gap in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), opting instead to buy legacy Hornets from the Royal Australian Air Force.

It has been a year of many highs and lows, but also one with cause for celebration.

On the positive side: Canada’s aviation industry played an essential role in celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation, delighting audiences with performances across the country.

The pilot shortage is also a time of remarkable opportunities for young aviators, and the C Series dispute is far from over. Government and industry leaders are digging in for a fight.

Many of these issues were top-of-mind for our readers, as this list of our 10 most-read stories of the year confirms. Our thanks for your support throughout 2017, and best wishes for the year ahead.

1) RCAF plans flypast spectacular for Canada Day 2017

Patrick Cardinal Photo

Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa were part of a year-long party that celebrated our nation’s 150th anniversary. The Royal Canadian Air Force contributed to the massive celebration, performing flypasts over the city.

2) Pilots wanted

Toronto-based Porter Airlines has been proactive about cementing relationships with flight colleges and other pilot training schools. President and CEO Bob Deluce said these connections are starting to pay off by delivering new employees. Porter Airlines Photo
Porter Airlines Photo

This in-depth feature probed the pilot shortage from many angles. It was an issue that resonated with thousands of readers.

3) Air Canada takes its first Boeing 737 MAX

Air Canada Photo

Air Canada became the second Canadian operator of the Boeing 737 MAX Next-Generation airliner, just weeks after WestJet inaugurated service on the type.

4) Opportunity knocks

Air Canada Express Bombardier CRJ on runway
Air Georgian Photo

The pilot shortage is a time of remarkable opportunity for young aviators, with the chance to move quickly toward their dream jobs.

5) Air Canada prepares for MAX flexibility, efficiency

Air Canada Photo

We looked ahead to Air Canada’s 737 MAX acquisition plans in our May/June print issue, a story that caught the attention of many online readers as well.

6) Canadian pilot shortage “very real,” says industry consultant

Worldwide, the annual average growth in the pilot population was expected to be in the range of four to 4.5 per cent, but Doiron noted that the International Air Transport Association last October projected overall industry growth at about 3.7 per cent if the market stabilizes. Mike Reyno Photo
Mike Reyno Photo

With this story in May, we documented the early effects of Canada’s pilot shortage.

7) Russian Ilyushin IL-76 carries out Canadian mining equipment contract

The heavy-laden IL-76 blasts off from North Bay ahead of a heavy weather front en route to Mary River on April 20.
Andy Cline Photo

This venerable aircraft did yeoman’s work, carrying mining vehicles from North Bay Jack Garland Airport in Ontario to Mary River Aerodrome, Nunavut on Baffin Island.

8) Exclusive: Team Spartan reveals details of FWSAR court challenge

Team Spartan claims the C295W does not meet certain Canadian SAR mission requirements. Among other reasons, Team Spartan says the C295's lack of an auxiliary power unit (APU) is a serious deficiency. The C-27J does have an APU. Leonardo Photo
Leonardo Photo

Skies was given access to an exclusive interview with Steve Lucas, a former RCAF chief of the air staff and spokesperson for Team Spartan, the consortium that backed the Leonardo C-27J Spartan in the competition to be named Canada’s next fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) aircraft.

9) Porter Airlines releases Stephenville summer schedule

Porter Airlines grows Atlantic market with new service to Saint John. Porter Airlines Inc. Photo
Porter Airlines Photo

Porter operated non-stop service between Halifax and Stephenville, N.L. over the summer. A surprisingly popular story among our readers.

10) WestJet goes “cheap and cheerful”

Airliner in Swoop livery flies above clouds
WestJet Image

Many companies are jockeying for a piece of Canada’s ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) market, and WestJet figures to be a major player via Swoop, its new ULCC brand.




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