Flair Airlines to speed up entry-level pilot training with new program

Click to play video: 'New pilot program to streamline access to foreign labour'
New pilot program to streamline access to foreign labour
Federal ministers were in Delta Monday morning to announce new measures to address acute labour shortages in this country. Canada is rolling out a Trusted Employer Program. As Safeeya Perani reports, it reduces red tape and makes it easier for employers to bring in temporary foreign workers. – Aug 8, 2023

Flair Airlines says it is launching a unique pilot training program that will see applicants placed in the cockpit of one of the company’s Boeing 737 jets within 18 months.

The Edmonton-based budget carrier says its program will radically speed up the length of time it takes in Canada for new pilots to get jobs flying large commercial jets.

Flair says the program will be similar to some in Europe that train entry-level pilots directly for first officer roles on large Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 jets.

Click to play video: 'Canadian airlines announce winter schedules'
Canadian airlines announce winter schedules

That’s different from the Canadian model, where pilots have historically had to spend many years flying small planes and regional routes before major carriers will hire them to fly big jets.

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A pilot shortage has been brewing in Canada for years.

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North America’s aviation industry is currently facing a staffing issues due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, an aging workforce and the rapid proliferation of new discount airlines that are pressuring the labour supply.

As of the beginning of 2023, the number of commercial pilot licences issued in Canada declined by more than 80 per cent since 2019.

Student pilots who have completed the training requirements for their private or commercial pilots’ licences have also faced what they said are lengthy processing times at Transport Canada this past year.

Just getting started is a big hurdle for many — becoming a commercial pilot now cost upwards of $100,000, discouraging some young people from entering the profession.

Flair says its program will adhere to the highest industry standards for safety and will generate a pipeline of highly trained pilots for the airline.

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