Pilots for regional carriers are in big demand. Air North is one of Canada's oldest carriers celebrating 40 years based in Yukon. This Douglas DC-3 CF-CUG flight over the Juneau icefields was taken in the early 1980s.
Photo Credit: CBC / Air North

Pilot shortage may soon affect regional carriers


Pilots are in short supply around the world these days, and the problem is expected to get worse.

The cause is a combination of factors converging internationally, such as mandatory retirement for many current pilots, more air routes, and more large air craft delivering all that on-line shopping.

“The aviation industry is literally going to double over the next 20 years.”

Mike Doiron, of the Canadian Council of Aviation and Aerospace, is concerned that Canada could be affected in the same way the United States is now.

Many regional carriers are having to cancel flights in the U.S.


If that happens in Canada, it will leave more people stranded as our country’s geography and climate do not lend themselves to other forms of transportation.

Jim Heidema of Northwest Air, based in the Northwest Territories, says he has had increasing difficulty holding on to pilots, who are being recruited earlier than ever by bigger airlines. © CBC/Submitted by Jim Heidema

Mike Doiron says, according to forecasts from several industry groups, “the aviation industry is literally going to double over the next 20 years”.

He says this will mean a requirement of “half-a-million pilots worldwide”.

Canada is already playing a significant role in this evolution as it has always been known for its quality of pilot-training, and is now graduating more international commercial pilots.

“We have beautiful areas to train in.”

Doiron says with the wide open space in Canada “we have beautiful areas to train in” and we have a history.

“Starting even in World War II, with the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, we became known as a major training centre or focus, worldwide; that has not really changed except for the fact that it’s grown bigger and bigger,” he says.

While the number of commercial pilots graduating annually has remained constant at between six and seven hundred people annually, the make-up has changed.

Twenty years ago, 20 per cent of the class may have been international students, now, Doiron says, more than 45 per cent are international pilots.

He says this is because more international students want to train, and fewer Canadian students can afford the cost, which is between $60,000 and $80,000 (CDN).

The good news, is that for young pilots there is more variety available, with regularly scheduled work in air ambulance or cargo carriers, and for those still coveting the cockpits of the major airlines, the opportunity to move up is happening a lot faster these days.

With files from CBC

Posted in Economy, International

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.


One comment on “Pilot shortage may soon affect regional carriers
  1. Peter Ashcroft says:

    Ib was fascinated by the photo of that iconic Douglas Dakota, the 20th. century workhorse.