Canada’s Airports Welcome Study on Flight Training

October 18, 2018


OTTAWA – The Canadian Airports Council today welcomed a motion tabled in the House of Commons recently to initiate parliamentary study of flight training in Canada, as a result of concerns by communities and their airports on the impact of a worldwide pilot shortage on regional air routes.

“Canada’s airports support the motion your colleague, Stephen Fuhr of Kelowna-Lake Country, tabled on flight training earlier this week,” said CAC President Daniel-Robert Gooch, in remarks to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport. “The pilot shortage is an industry concern already being felt in regional air service and a study by you on this would be welcome.”

Canada faces a shortfall of about 3,000 pilots over the next seven years but some regional air carriers are finding it a challenge attract and retain qualified pilots. As a result, there has been an increase in the cancellation of regional flights in some parts of Canada due to crew shortages – a tremendous reliability concern for travellers and communities that rely on these services.

“When travellers see frequent cancellations on a particular air route, this creates concerns about the reliability of a particular service. If travellers choose to drive to their destination or to an alternate airport instead, the community may lose the service altogether.” said CAC Chair Sam Samaddar, who is also airport director at Kelowna International Airport. “Canada’s flight training schools, which are among the best in the world, are busy marketing their services but there are barriers to growing the student base and retaining more of these pilots here in Canada.”

Of the 1,200 students at Canada’s flight schools, about 40 per cent are foreign students who typically go home after their studies. Making it easier for them to stay and work would help, as would more financial support to Canadians entering the expensive pathway to becoming a commercial pilot, which can cost $75,000 to $150,000.

Meanwhile, demand for air travel in Canada is booming with 5 per cent growth in traveller volumes over the first eight months of the year, and even stronger growth of 6-8 per cent in U.S. and overseas markets. In his remarks to the House Transport Committee, Mr. Gooch also spoke to the strain this growth is putting on government services, like security screening and border services, and the need for continued investments on ground access to airports, such as light rail and road links.


About the Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council (CAC), the voice for Canada’s airports community, has 53 members representing more than 100 airports, including all of the privately operated National Airports System (NAS) airports and many municipal airports across Canada. Canada’s NAS airports are independently operated by non-share capital corporations that reinvest all financial surpluses back into the airport for the benefit of users and the community.

Together, CAC members handle virtually all of the nation’s air cargo and international passenger traffic, and 95% of domestic passenger traffic.

They provide 194,000 direct jobs, $19 billion to the national GDP and $48 billion in direct economic activity. They also provide municipal, provincial and federal governments $6.9 billion in tax revenues each year.


About ACI-NA

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) represents local, regional, and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. ACI-NA member airports enplane more than 95 percent of the domestic and virtually all the international airline passenger and cargo traffic in North America. Approximately 380 aviation-related businesses are also members of ACI-NA, providing goods and services to airports. Collectively, U.S. airports support more than 11.5 million jobs and account for $1.4 trillion in economic activity – or more than seven percent of the total U.S. GDP. Canadian airports support 405,000 jobs and contribute C$35 billion to Canada’s GDP. Learn more at