Becoming a pilot is one of life’s most challenging and rewarding adventures. A career in aviation is an opportunity to get paid to do what you love. Many young boys and girls dream of one day becoming an airline pilot and flying all over the world. Over a century since the early days of aviation, there is a certain awe and respect for the men and women who are at the controls of massive and complex aircraft.

Sometimes overlooked, there are also a wide variety of different careers in aviation beyond the airline environment:

  • Corporate & Charter Aviation
  • Forest Fire Detection and Suppression
  • Military Aviation
  • Flight Instruction
  • Helicopter Pilots
  • Aerobatics and Air Shows
  • Domestic and International Medivac
  • Airborne Imaging and Surveying
  • Management, Maintenance, Administration, etc.

Growing Demand

Increased international air traffic coupled with an increase in the number of pilots retiring is leading to a looming pilot shortage in the aviation industry. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), there will be a need for 207,600 new pilots worldwide by 2018, and 352,900 by 2026.(Human Resources Study of the Commercial Pilot in Canada, 2010)

Within Canada, there have been a number of factors leading to an increased demand for pilots. With the introduction of disruptive new carriers such as Westjet and Porter, there has been an increase in the market for air travel rather than just stealing passengers from existing companies. There has also been significant growth and development in the North, resulting in increasing demand for a variety of air transportation and aviation services. As the need grows, air operators will be required to recruit more commercial pilots and aviation professionals.

According to studies, these factors are resulting in a gap between the supply of and demand for commercial pilots in Canada. It is expected that by 2014, there could be a need for over 500 pilots beyond the capacity of what existing flight schools can produce.(Human Resources Study of the Commercial Pilot in Canada, 2010)

The job market for pilots in Canada is largely dependent on the need for pilots at the airline level. As large carriers increase recruitment, it causes a “pull” effect within the industry. Typically, airlines hire from regional carriers, who hire from smaller charter companies, who hire from their ramp positions or flight instructors from flight schools.

For more information on choosing a career in aviation, feel free to visit the following websites:
2010 Human Resources Study of the Commercial Pilot in Canada
ATAC Professional Pilot Career Info Brochure
Wings Careers in Aviation