Kelowna Lake Country M-P Stephen Fuhr is warning of a looming pilot shortage.
Fuhr — who is a former military pilot — says at current production rates, Canada will be short nearly three thousand pilots by 2025, and nearly 6,000 by 2036.
He says his private members motion asking for a review of the problem — comes before the House of Commons in October.
Fuhr says he recently spoke with local Canadian Owners and Pilots Association members at the Kelowna Flying Club.
“At the meeting we discussed a number of general aviation issues to include the status of pilot training in Canada. There was an overwhelming consensus that there was a need for better support for our flight training schools and student pilots in order to increase pilot production.”
Fuhr says the International Civil Aviation Organization estimates on a global scale, 80 percent of the 620,000 new pilots that will be needed to sustain expected growth in passenger traffic by 2036 have yet to begin training.
“And if finding qualified pilots is a challenge, finding qualified instructors is equally challenging as more experienced pilots are being snapped up by commercial airlines to fill their own vacancies.”
He says for local operators the effect is immediate.
“As noted by the BC Aviation Council, one local operator has had to hire and train the equivalent of 100% of their pilot workforce in less than a year. Not only is this a costly endeavour, it creates the additional problem of a pool of less experienced pilots.”
Fuhr says the traditional route to becoming a pilot in Canada involves earning licenses and ratings that cost about $75,000 and twice that if combined with a degreed or diploma program offered at a number of post secondary’s across the country.
“It’s a financial burden many cannot afford to take on.”