Canadian Aviation Industry Update

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After many years of mergers, bankruptcies, furloughs, and slow movement, pilot hiring in Canada has turned around and is set to explode in 2006. For the past four years almost all airline hiring in Canada has been conducted by 2 carriers only; WestJet and Cathay Pacific (not including the former jetsgo). This changed dramatically this summer when all airlines across the country began interviewing and hiring new pilots; including Morningstar, Canadian North, Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz, Skyservice, WestJet Airlines, and Canjet Airlines. This hiring period resulted in some pilot movement from the top of some of our Charter Companies and Tier III Regional Carriers like Air Georgian, Wasaya, CMA, and Provincial Airlines. But it is only the start of a big wave of Pilot Hiring!

AIR CANADA and AIR CANADA JAZZ —- Today and in 2006:

After 3 years of pilot layoffs, and a bankruptcy filing, Air Canada Mainline is now in a position to intake many new pilots. Air Canada seems to have sorted out its finances; has rationalized its fleet, and now has committed to a re-organization plan that includes expansion and new aircraft deliveries. Over the last 3 months AC has recalled all of its laid-off crews and recently interviewed and hired a number of pilots onto their new Embraer EMB175 Jets. About 20 additional candidates have been placed in a temporary holding ‘pool’ for later 2005 groundschools.

Air Canada’s pilot hiring over the next 2 years is going to have a huge effect on our industry. AC is a huge company that has not hired a pilot for more than 4 years. In addition, there will be many retirements in the next three years. Due to these retirements and expansion plans, Air Canada will hire somewhere between 600 – 800 pilots over the next 30 months. At present they are hiring 10 Pilots a month until the end of 2005. As of January 2006, AC plans to hire 20 new pilots a month indefinitely. All interviews are taking place at their offices at Toronto Pearson International Airport CYYZ.

Air Canada Jazz, the launch customer of the Bombardier CRJ705 Regional Jet, is undergoing its own expansion and is actively hiring pilots. Over the last six months Jazz received 12 new CRJ705 Regional Jets. Their 13th CRJ705 is presently doing a promotional world tour on behalf of Bombardier. When it returns to Canada it will be delivered to Jazz alongside their 2 remaining EMB705 orders. All 15 of the CRJ705’s should be in service by the end of 2005. AC Jazz has been conducting their Pilot Interviews at a variety of bases across the country including Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal . The new hires in 2005 have thus far been given First Officer positions on the Dash 8 Turboprop. However Jazz has also started to receive 8 used CRJ200 Regional Jets from Independence Air of the USA. At PCC we believe in the near future AC Jazz will start to place new-hires directly onto the CRJ Jet Fleet. We also anticipate Air Canada Jazz will continue to interview and hire pilots into mid 2006.


Canjet Airlines recently recruited approximately 28 new pilots for their Halifax base. Currently their Training Department is busy in Simulator Facilities in Miami . In 2006 Canjet will look to expand their fleet; hoping to add more Boeing 737-500s, or potentially B737-300s to its fleet.

WestJet Pilot Recruitment Personnel recently contacted the PCC Team to advise of some personnel changes and their plans for the next 12 months. They plan to retire their remaining 4 B737-200 Classics by the end of 2005 and will take delivery of more than 10 new Boeing 737NG’s in 2006. They are currently recruiting and interviewing many pilots. Successful candidates will be awarded ground school slots in the first quarter of 2006. The airline anticipates a need to hire pilots for the entire 2006 calendar year.

Skyservice Airlines has recently interviewed and hired new pilots for the busy Canadian Winter Holiday Charter season. Over the last three years Skyservice has taken advantage of pilot layoffs at Air Canada; contractring some Type Rated Pilots to fly either the A320 or B757/767s for summer contracts in Europe and winter operations to Mexico, the Caribbean, etc. These laid off pilots have now been recalled to Air Canada and Skyservice will need to permanently replace them. In addition we anticipate some current Skyservice pilots to cross over to Air Canada in 2006. Expect Skyservice to interview and hire more crews in 2006.


PCC Staff recently met with Cathay Pacific Airways Pilot Recruitment Personnel at the BALPA Pilot Hiring Conference in London, England. They anticipate hiring 200 new pilots in 2006 and at least 150 pilots per year for the foreseeable future. We at PILOT CAREER CENTRE estimate that around 40 – 80 of these new recruits (per year) will come from our Canadian Aviation Industry.

Emirates of Dubai, Qatar Airways of Qatar, and Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi continue to recruit new pilots for their rapid expansions. The outstanding orders for these airlines are incredible and they will need to hire experienced pilots indefinitely. Canadian Pilots (with the appropriate experience level) are highly sought after at these airlines due to their professionalism, experience, and open-minded nature.

With all of these airlines hiring Canadian Pilots, we are anticipating major job opportunities throughout the industry, from east to west, north to south, and from top to bottom. All carriers in Canada will be affected.


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