A looming shortage of aircraft mechanics and pilots in Canada will be challenging for the aviation industry in the coming years.
According to the Transport Canada licensing department, 46 per cent of aircraft mechanics are between the ages of 50 and 79 years old.
It’s an aging industry, that isn’t seeing the influx of young people from college programs it will need to keep it going.
“There’s going to be a requirement for around a hundred thousand pilots and a hundred thousand technicians,” Saskatchewan Aviation Council president Janet Keim said.
“Those technicians would include aircraft maintenance engineers. So [it’s] huge.”
Doug Tomlinson teaches aircraft maintenance at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies. He said the career isn’t popular enough among young people.
“You look around, we don’t see a lot of young people going into this industry,” Tomlinson said. “With the age, people are getting to the point where they don’t want to be doing this.”
The shortage is also affecting many other parts of the world. As the aviation industry grows, the demand for people to work in the field will increase worldwide.
“Because of the way the aircraft industry is growing, there aren’t enough AME’s coming out of the schools to keep up with the growth of the aircraft industry,” Kreos Aviation‘s Trevor Lepitzki said.
“There are predictions that in the next 15 to 20 years, we are going to need between well around a million pilots and AME’s combined.”
Because of the shortage in Canada, work is already being moved abroad to countries like China. Tomlinson said although it’s cheaper, the quality of work won’t be the same.
“You’ll see some massive hiring and they’ll have to go outside,” he said. “The big inspection work items are going off-shore, so we go to where it costs less money, but we also pay a very severe safety knowledge skill set.”
“The world flies, and we have to figure out a way to supply the people necessary,” Keim said.