A new training program for aspiring pilots is coming to the Collingwood Regional Airport, in an effort to address a growing demand in the Canadian aviation industry.
Flair Airlines recently announced a partnership with Genesis Flight College and CTS Aero based out of the Collingwood Regional Airport in Clearview Township to run their brand new Flair Airlines Cadet Program. The 18-month program will teach aspiring pilots how to fly a 737 Boeing MAX aircraft.
“We’re going to take them from zero to hero,” said Stephen Jones, chief executive officer of Flair Airlines.
While accelerated training programs do exist in other parts of the world, Jones says this will mark the first time such a program is being launched in Canada.
“We are innovators. We believe we need to think differently about the challenges our industry faces,” said Jones.
Lead of the Flair Airlines Cadet Program, Grey Cooper, elaborated on the challenges within the aviation industry, noting that in North America, it’s estimated between 15,000 and 20,000 new pilots will be needed by 2029.
“One of the reasons for this, is we’re not getting the word out there. We’re going to give anyone who wants to work in a professional work environment an opportunity to see an end goal,” he said. “This is a fun and different career.”
When asked why Flair chose to partner with Genesis and CTS Aero, Cooper said they stood out in the pool of Canadian flight schools.
“We chose the best,” said Cooper. “We looked at all the flight schools we could consider in Canada and we chose the people who were at the highest level of innovation that we thought would deliver the most professional product and as well, had the same vision as we do to deliver the highest quality pilot in the shortest amount of time.”
According to a news release from Flair, the objective of the cadet program is to prepare pilots to become first officers on the Boeing 737 Max aircraft within 18 months. Similar programs exist in Europe, states the release, and the Canadian program will follow the European examples.
“Our partnership with Flair on the Cadet Program will provide cadets with a direct pathway to a first officer position and Flair with a pipeline of highly trained pilots”, said David Gascoine, president of Genesis Flight College, in the news release from Flair. “We are pleased to be selected as the first flight school in Canada to implement the industry-leading multi-crew training syllabus pioneered in Europe along with fully integrated virtual reality training.”
Canada Training Solutions president, Garrett Lawless, said he sees Canada with the potential to be an leader in the aviation industry for training aviation.
“With mixed reality flight simulation, targeted cognitive training, and evolved curriculums that leverage the strengths of these technologies, we provide support to elite flight training programs as they prepare tomorrow’s air crew," he said in the news release. "Our programs use proven methodologies to efficiently train more pilots with fewer resources and to higher standards than traditional approaches.”
Looking toward the future, Cooper said he sees the program growing in the coming years in tandem with the airline.
“This is one part of a larger recruitment program,” he said. “In the next two to three years, we see growing the program to ensure we maintain the requirement of pilots moving forward.”
“We only see it getting better and leading the industry,” he added.
The Flair Airlines Cadet Program will welcome its first cohort of aspiring pilots in January 2024 and is hoping to graduate 10 new pilots from that cohort.
To apply or review the program curriculum, click here.