With their promise of cheaper fares and no pointless frills, a flurry of so-called low cost airways has burst onto the Canadian scene in the previous couple of years.

However specialists say the low-cost airline mannequin is exacerbating an already present pilot scarcity that would change into an excellent larger drawback for this nation’s aviation trade within the years to return.

Begin-up low cost airways — equivalent to Edmonton-based Aptitude Airways, Calgary-based Lynx, and WestJet subsidiary Swoop — have been quickly increasing throughout Canada for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic, playing that there is sufficient pent-up demand from budget-conscious travellers to help extra capability.

Whereas every operates barely in another way, the fundamental premise of a low-cost airline is that travellers obtain stripped-down service in change for low fundamental fares. Issues like carry-on and checked luggage, snacks and drinks, and cancellation safety are all thought-about extras and should be paid for individually.

The jury continues to be out on which, if any, of those upstart airways will survive in a crowded discipline. Nevertheless, specialists say the fast proliferation of latest flights and routes is placing stress on the aviation labour market — together with for pilots.

“If I’ve a brand new airline that begins up with 10 airplanes, I theoretically want about 200 pilots,” stated Mike Doiron, president of Moncton, N.B.-based Doiron Aviation Consulting.

“And getting new pilots educated does not occur in a single day, though the demand for pilots has skyrocketed.”

A pilot scarcity has been brewing in Canada for years, based mostly on quite a lot of components together with an getting older workforce, pandemic-related layoffs and early retirements, and spiralling coaching prices. (Turning into a industrial pilot can now price upwards of $100,000, discouraging some younger folks from coming into the occupation, specialists say).

Final week, trip airline Sunwing blamed its spate of vacation season flight disruptions and cancellations partly on a pilot scarcity, telling the federal transport committee that the federal government’s choice to disclaim the airline’s latest software to rent 63 short-term overseas employees (TFW) for pilot roles impacted its potential to ship service.

  • WATCH | One other low cost airline joins Canada’s trade: 

New low cost airline launches in Canada

Canada’s extremely low-cost airline trade is getting crowded with the arrival of Lynx Air. Like its opponents, the airline guarantees low cost flights with few frills.

Tim Perry — president of the Canadian division of the Air Line Pilots Affiliation, the union that represents pilots at quite a lot of Canadian airways, together with WestJet and Transat (however not Sunwing) — stated that argument is “absurd.” He stated he does not consider any Canadian airline that compensates its pilots appropriately ought to want to rent TFWs.

Nevertheless, Perry stated there are actual labour challenges within the aviation trade. He stated flight colleges, northern and regional airways particularly are struggling to recruit licensed pilots, partly as a result of new carriers are hiring pilots who in any other case would have gone to work at a few of these smaller operators. And since low cost carriers do not pay in addition to Air Canada or WestJet, lower-cost airways additionally battle with retention.

“They’re introducing a ton of capability onto the market, at low price, and it is added to the draw on pilots,” Perry stated.

“However these entry stage jobs (at low cost carriers) traditionally haven’t been profession locations. So these airways find yourself with the next coaching burden per unit of productive flying.”

Not one of the airways contacted by The Canadian Press had been prepared to discuss the present state of the pilot labour market, nor was the Nationwide Airways Council of Canada trade group.

However a 2018 report by the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace stated {that a} third of flight operators on this nation at the moment cited pilots as their greatest expertise scarcity. The report stated the necessity for skilled pilots is starting to outpace the accessible nationwide provide, and projected the trade will want a further 7,300 pilots by 2025.

“There’s solely perhaps 15,000 to twenty,000 pilots in your entire system proper now, in order that’s a reasonably vital quantity,” Doiron stated.

He added that some small airways are already reducing their hiring requirements — lowering the quantity of flying hours they’d usually require a pilot to have, or contemplating candidates who haven’t got college levels — with a purpose to be aggressive within the labour market.

Whereas pilots will all the time have to fulfill the minimal coaching necessities set by Transport Canada, Doiron stated a worsening pilot scarcity in future will imply much less expertise within the cockpit. As well as, he stated, it may result in a long-term enhance within the variety of flight disruptions and cancellations travellers expertise as airways battle with scheduling and labour.

“The scarcity of certified, skilled personnel is basically going to place the entire trade the other way up for the following few minutes,” Doiron stated.

“I am glad I am not working an airline proper now, as a result of it is going to be a troublesome 5 to 10 years, I’d recommend.”

Among the many startup airways which have added capability for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic are Aptitude Airways, which has expanded aggressively to serve greater than 30 locations in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico; Lynx, which says will probably be providing 5,292 seats per week to and from america from its Toronto and Calgary hubs as of February; and Canada Jetlines, which launched in September with twice weekly flights between Toronto and Calgary.

Toronto-based Porter Airways can be launching new routes, and says it has as much as 100 new plane on order which can give it the flexibility to function throughout Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean.



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