The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

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AmbrusFernas
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The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by AmbrusFernas »

You might read things on here like "now has never been a better time to become a pilot". You hear about signing bonuses of up to $40k, regional pilots topping $60k in their first year. Most seem happy with their career thus far.

Sounds good right? Nope, no such luck in Canada.

Let's do the math (all figures in CAD, multiply by 0.8 to get USD)

The average cost from 0-FI is about $75,000 in Canada (and if you want to make it to Big Red, you better have a degree, so add another $30,000). Let's say you go to the bank and borrow $75,000 at a generous interest rate of 4%. To pay this off over 10 years, that is a monthly payment of about $1000. Remember this for later.
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BE20 Driver
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by BE20 Driver »

You could remove the word Regional out of your subject and it would still be true.

What is Air Canada's 4 year flat pay again - $55k-ish?

I've worked abroad and any of those hiring bonuses are just for 'merikan pilots and maybe the odd Chinese operator who is desperate. Maybe when Boeing gets their fecal matter together with regards to the Maxes you'll see a few eager 737 operators abroad. I'll buy everyone on avcanada a beer if any major Canadian operator start offering signing bonuses. Canadians are just too cheap. It's our national identity.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by TalkingPie »

All this is true. And it's still the best time to get into piloting in decades.

Things are already miles better than they were when I first looked at the prospect in 2011. Having much exposure to the age of the flight crews over at the Big Airline, it's obvious to me that the path to making $100k+ is shorter than in recent memory. In the past year or so, Jazz's pilot job posting went from requiring 1,000 hrs to 750, to recently removing a minimum number at all, telling pilots: "Start building your application by clicking "Apply Online" on this job posting as soon as you reach 500 hours total time."

I think it's crazy that there are flight attendants making more money than junior FOs on the same flight, but the question each of us has to ask is whether the job and the payoff in the long run are worth the initial risk and sacrifice. As much as we'd like to, there's not much we can do to change the industry other than voting with our feet. As a counterpoint, in how many other professions do you have a decent shot at eventually grossing over a quarter million a year doing something you love while working as little as nine days a month?

Personally, I'm trying to hedge my bets by treating the first few years of piloting as an expensive hobby while working a job which allows me to pay cash for my ratings. This comes with its own drawbacks: mainly the time I've taken working another job and not building my hours and seniority more quickly. My thinking is that this will allow me to continue or withdraw from the profession without a huge debt hanging around my neck; it gives me the sense of having some amount of power and freedom, even though it most likely doesn't result in the largest amount of dollars under the curve.

Like piloting itself, when it comes to our career we have to analyze our options and choose the best approach given our situation and the limited information we have at hand.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by rookiepilot »

AmbrusFernas wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:05 pm
You might read things on here like "now has never been a better time to become a pilot". You hear about signing bonuses of up to $40k, regional pilots topping $60k in their first year. Most seem happy with their career thus far.

Sounds good right? Nope, no such luck in Canada.

Let's do the math (all figures in CAD, multiply by 0.8 to get USD)

The average cost from 0-FI is about $75,000 in Canada (and if you want to make it to Big Red, you better have a degree, so add another $30,000). Let's say you go to the bank and borrow $75,000 at a generous interest rate of 4%. To pay this off over 10 years, that is a monthly payment of about $1000. Remember this for later.

Then don't do it! It's called "life choices". Or go on "go fund me" like the other parasite losers.

I hate threads like this. Way too much whining for a first world situation.

I'll trade you what I had to do to get established. You wouldn't do it.

You have no clue what a REALLY tough situation is. Not a f------ clue. You want it, suck it up buttercup.

Crybabies everywhere.

I'm done.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by Hangry »

rookiepilot wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:59 pm
AmbrusFernas wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:05 pm
You might read things on here like "now has never been a better time to become a pilot". You hear about signing bonuses of up to $40k, regional pilots topping $60k in their first year. Most seem happy with their career thus far.

Sounds good right? Nope, no such luck in Canada.

Let's do the math (all figures in CAD, multiply by 0.8 to get USD)

The average cost from 0-FI is about $75,000 in Canada (and if you want to make it to Big Red, you better have a degree, so add another $30,000). Let's say you go to the bank and borrow $75,000 at a generous interest rate of 4%. To pay this off over 10 years, that is a monthly payment of about $1000. Remember this for later.

Then don't do it! It's called "life choices". Or go on "go fund me" like the other parasite losers.

I hate threads like this. Way too much whining for a first world situation.

I'll trade you what I had to do to get established. You wouldn't do it.

You have no clue what a REALLY tough situation is. Not a f------ clue. You want it, suck it up buttercup.

Crybabies everywhere.

I'm done.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by rookiepilot »

Here's your answer, Ambrus. You know, compete with other trivial causes. Like dying cancer patients. Easier than, actually working.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/flight-train ... line-pilot
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by Kejidog »

What a bunch of whiners. Try becoming a doctor in Canada. 4 years undergrad. $30-50 k in a university. 4 years of med school basically $100K plus. Then add in all related expenses. Then do 2-4 years residency then a couple years as an intern. All the while working 60 plus hours a week making next to crap wages. Then you get to buy a practice hopefully in an area of the country that pays 1/2 decently, in a city hopefully. Pay off mountains of debt making barely upper middle class wages all the while having asshats tell you you make too much and should pay more taxes of work for less money to balance a bloated provincial deficit. On top of this run a business with all the headaches while trying to make time to be a doctor. I think you ALL are doing pretty well as pilots. Even making mid 50’s in your 20’s you're well ahead of anyone working some service job who’ll never advance in a salary.

But if you really want cushy, be like me. Start work at 20 as a unionized professional firefighter. $100k plus a year. And excellent benefits. It’s all in your life choices when you’re young.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by iflyroads »

BE20 Driver wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:41 pm

What is Air Canada's 4 year flat pay again - $55k-ish?


Flat pay does not mean 4 years of 55k each year.

as of April 2019

1st year 55k
2nd year 60k
3rd year 67k
4th year 75k

Flat pay just means you won't get formula pay (night flying premium, over seas premium etc etc)

Not justifying what the pay is it's terrible but trying to clarify some information
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by rookiepilot »

Kejidog wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:06 pm
What a bunch of whiners. Try becoming a doctor in Canada. 4 years undergrad. $30-50 k in a university. 4 years of med school basically $100K plus. Then add in all related expenses. Then do 2-4 years residency then a couple years as an intern. All the while working 60 plus hours a week making next to crap wages. Then you get to buy a practice hopefully in an area of the country that pays 1/2 decently, in a city hopefully. Pay off mountains of debt making barely upper middle class wages all the while having asshats tell you you make too much and should pay more taxes of work for less money to balance a bloated provincial deficit. On top of this run a business with all the headaches while trying to make time to be a doctor. I think you ALL are doing pretty well as pilots. Even making mid 50’s in your 20’s you're well ahead of anyone working some service job who’ll never advance in a salary.

Oh yes, but apparently we are told, being a pilot is harder and requires more education than any ordinary doctor. Even a brain surgeon, which is probably another 4-6 years of school.

# 1 on the dumbest avcanada posts. It's a highly skilled, but still blue collar machinery operator work. Any pilot is replaceable. Top brain surgeons-- slightly more rare.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by goingnowherefast »

In case nobody has noticed, there's also a shortage of doctors in this country. If medical residency paid better, there might be more doctors.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by altiplano »

goingnowherefast wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:36 am
In case nobody has noticed, there's also a shortage of doctors in this country. If medical residency paid better, there might be more doctors.
Doctor shortage largely falls at the feet of the bottleneck in education. Even out of med school doctors are falling short, not getting residencies, etc...

Much of this is imposed by the various MAs. ie. only so many slots into this and so many into that and so on.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by Gear Jerker »

I'll put my hat in this ring as well, although others have put it pretty well.

First of all, STFU.

10 years ago, you would incur all the costs and risks that the initial poster mentioned, just to do a job hunting road trip to get a ramp job up north, then after 2 years of freezing your nuts off making peanuts working 12 hour days on the ramp in the middle of nowhere, you'd maybe get a navajo right seat, if you can pass your training after not flying for 2 years. With hard work and luck, within 5 years after starting on the flight line you could have 4000 hours and turbine time and maybe get an interview at a regional. Then, you'd sit right seat dash for a good 5 years before getting a sniff at any left seat. Major airlines regarded your resume as good fire starter until you had at least 5000 hours and some 705 pic. And still, first world problems. The vast majority of humans on this planet would regard all of this as a dream life.

Nowadays, Encore Jazz and Porter will hire you with 1000 hours and getting less every few months, and there are constant job postings for direct entry first officer jobs at places like Perimeter, Transwest etc. Unheard of. With an average work ethic and professional standard, you'll upgrade within 2 years, and maybe do a year left seat and be a competitive hire for AC or WestJet. From day 1 of ab initio, you can realistically break 100k gross income within 5 years, and within 15 years approach 200k and it only goes up the rest of your career while your days worked most likely goes down, + all the other benefits. The lifestyle can be a challenge, but it's manageable.

Talk to anybody who has been doing this for over 20 years, and ask them about their journey. This is definitely the best time. And wayyyyyy better than most professions, if you're a reasonable/realistic person.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by Bede »

goingnowherefast wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:36 am
In case nobody has noticed, there's also a shortage of doctors in this country. If medical residency paid better, there might be more doctors.
No there's not. What there is is a shortage of is family doctors in rural areas.

The reason that there is such a wait time for surgeons is because there is a shortage of available OR time. Most surgeons in ortho, neuro, etc. end up having to do multiple fellowships (ie work the ramp) before they get a staff position.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by Squaretail »

Bede wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:16 pm

No there's not. What there is is a shortage of is family doctors in rural areas.

Indeed. And there's a shortage of rural doctors because our government no longer provides funding for the education specifically of them. This topic came up the other day, when I happened to run into the old guy who delivered me and he had a rant about how it was no longer that way.

There is a parallel to training pilots. While I generally concur with the "suck it up buttercup" crowd, there is something to be said about how our country alone in the world does bugger all to help pilot training efforts. After all, you don't really think all these Chinese/Indian/Phillipino/Korean/Egyptian/Emirati kids are coming here on their own dime, do you? Getting any kind of financial help with pilot training was like pulling teeth when I did it, and its only gotten worse. I mean if you want to get a degree in interpretive dance, there's no end of funding, but heaven forbid you want to be a pilot.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by rookiepilot »

Squaretail wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:38 pm
Bede wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:16 pm

No there's not. What there is is a shortage of is family doctors in rural areas.

Indeed. And there's a shortage of rural doctors because our government no longer provides funding for the education specifically of them. This topic came up the other day, when I happened to run into the old guy who delivered me and he had a rant about how it was no longer that way.

There is a parallel to training pilots. While I generally concur with the "suck it up buttercup" crowd, there is something to be said about how our country alone in the world does bugger all to help pilot training efforts. After all, you don't really think all these Chinese/Indian/Phillipino/Korean/Egyptian/Emirati kids are coming here on their own dime, do you? Getting any kind of financial help with pilot training was like pulling teeth when I did it, and its only gotten worse. I mean if you want to get a degree in interpretive dance, there's no end of funding, but heaven forbid you want to be a pilot.
So?

There is great need for skilled engineers, doctors, surgeons, businesspeople, firefighters, accountants, and many other professions.

Why do you imply pilots add more value to society, and therefore society should pay their training costs, while the pilot ultimately reaps the rewards?

I don't agree with subsidizing pilot training anymore than I would support most others, which require a substantial investment in training for an ultimately very high paying career, which recoups that investment in spades.

You want it bad enough, cut your lifestyle, drive a crap car, and work like a dog. Find a way. Like so many others have.

More whining.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by dialdriver »

Gear Jerker wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:03 pm
I'll put my hat in this ring as well, although others have put it pretty well.

First of all, STFU.

10 years ago, you would incur all the costs and risks that the initial poster mentioned, just to do a job hunting road trip to get a ramp job up north, then after 2 years of freezing your nuts off making peanuts working 12 hour days on the ramp in the middle of nowhere, you'd maybe get a navajo right seat, if you can pass your training after not flying for 2 years. With hard work and luck, within 5 years after starting on the flight line you could have 4000 hours and turbine time and maybe get an interview at a regional. Then, you'd sit right seat dash for a good 5 years before getting a sniff at any left seat. Major airlines regarded your resume as good fire starter until you had at least 5000 hours and some 705 pic. And still, first world problems. The vast majority of humans on this planet would regard all of this as a dream life.

Nowadays, Encore Jazz and Porter will hire you with 1000 hours and getting less every few months, and there are constant job postings for direct entry first officer jobs at places like Perimeter, Transwest etc. Unheard of. With an average work ethic and professional standard, you'll upgrade within 2 years, and maybe do a year left seat and be a competitive hire for AC or WestJet. From day 1 of ab initio, you can realistically break 100k gross income within 5 years, and within 15 years approach 200k and it only goes up the rest of your career while your days worked most likely goes down, + all the other benefits. The lifestyle can be a challenge, but it's manageable.

Talk to anybody who has been doing this for over 20 years, and ask them about their journey. This is definitely the best time. And wayyyyyy better than most professions, if you're a reasonable/realistic person.
In the 80s airline pilots were laid of for as much as 7 years, putting a complete stop on any advancement in the industry. Some regional pilots were collecting welfare to survive. Any hope of an entry level job was more or less a dream.

As a result, i considered my self very lucky to land a Navajo job in northern BC in my early 30s, after about 5 years of around $18 - 20/yr instructing jobs. This was after I sold my house to pay for training. A house I barely managed to buy with a job outside of aviation that saw me laid off several times due to the 80s economy. I was in my mid forties before a house purchase was again a possibility.

For those of you that think I should retire in order to expedite your career advancement, I have something for you to kiss...
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by rookiepilot »

All industries have their ups and downs. Suck it up stands. Gee. Try saving some money once in awhile.

If some Alberta oil workers, who are losing their houses ----heard pilots whining like this in person right now, a few would get their lights punched out.

Deservingly so.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by fish4life »

rookiepilot wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:34 pm
Squaretail wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:38 pm
Bede wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:16 pm

No there's not. What there is is a shortage of is family doctors in rural areas.

Indeed. And there's a shortage of rural doctors because our government no longer provides funding for the education specifically of them. This topic came up the other day, when I happened to run into the old guy who delivered me and he had a rant about how it was no longer that way.

There is a parallel to training pilots. While I generally concur with the "suck it up buttercup" crowd, there is something to be said about how our country alone in the world does bugger all to help pilot training efforts. After all, you don't really think all these Chinese/Indian/Phillipino/Korean/Egyptian/Emirati kids are coming here on their own dime, do you? Getting any kind of financial help with pilot training was like pulling teeth when I did it, and its only gotten worse. I mean if you want to get a degree in interpretive dance, there's no end of funding, but heaven forbid you want to be a pilot.
So?

There is great need for skilled engineers, doctors, surgeons, businesspeople, firefighters, accountants, and many other professions.

Why do you imply pilots add more value to society, and therefore society should pay their training costs, while the pilot ultimately reaps the rewards?

I don't agree with subsidizing pilot training anymore than I would support most others, which require a substantial investment in training for an ultimately very high paying career, which recoups that investment in spades.

You want it bad enough, cut your lifestyle, drive a crap car, and work like a dog. Find a way. Like so many others have.

More whining.
Most of those degree programs are heavily subsidized by the government
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by dialdriver »

fish4life wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:26 pm
rookiepilot wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:34 pm
Squaretail wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 5:38 pm


Indeed. And there's a shortage of rural doctors because our government no longer provides funding for the education specifically of them. This topic came up the other day, when I happened to run into the old guy who delivered me and he had a rant about how it was no longer that way.

There is a parallel to training pilots. While I generally concur with the "suck it up buttercup" crowd, there is something to be said about how our country alone in the world does bugger all to help pilot training efforts. After all, you don't really think all these Chinese/Indian/Phillipino/Korean/Egyptian/Emirati kids are coming here on their own dime, do you? Getting any kind of financial help with pilot training was like pulling teeth when I did it, and its only gotten worse. I mean if you want to get a degree in interpretive dance, there's no end of funding, but heaven forbid you want to be a pilot.
So?

There is great need for skilled engineers, doctors, surgeons, businesspeople, firefighters, accountants, and many other professions.

Why do you imply pilots add more value to society, and therefore society should pay their training costs, while the pilot ultimately reaps the rewards?

I don't agree with subsidizing pilot training anymore than I would support most others, which require a substantial investment in training for an ultimately very high paying career, which recoups that investment in spades.

You want it bad enough, cut your lifestyle, drive a crap car, and work like a dog. Find a way. Like so many others have.

More whining.
Most of those degree programs are heavily subsidized by the government
I have one of those degrees. I was not heavily subsidized. I paid for it with a combination of savings and student loans. I spent 5 years in student poverty and will miss out on 5 years of late career earnings.

I sucked it up.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by Squaretail »

rookiepilot wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:34 pm


So?

There is great need for skilled engineers, doctors, surgeons, businesspeople, firefighters, accountants, and many other professions.

Why do you imply pilots add more value to society, and therefore society should pay their training costs, while the pilot ultimately reaps the rewards?

Uh, no, I'm not saying pilots are particularly valued. What I'm saying is society already aids the rest of those, at least in their initial training. Whether you agree with that or not is up for debate. It would merely be useful from an education perspective if flight training were considered like any other trade. Currently its not, but ultimately its a smaller issue in the big picture of problems with flight training.

On the issue of whether you feel any kind of education should be subsidized, personally I'm on the side that it should be. And that's not because I want education, its because I need a better workforce to draw on and the quality seems to get poorer all the time. On the same token though, I think there's a lot of fat in education that can be trimmed, but someone needs to trim from the top. One could also rein in a lot of needless spending. but that's just my view, Yours may vary.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by ayseven »

I agree w dialdriver. Like him, or her, i lost out on a huge amount if cpp by going to university. No loans, just savings from flying. House at 41, only because spouse worked. Flying is never going to get subsidised, beyond a small grant for ifr, like the old days. Quit putting making money in the same sentence as "non airline/specialty, away from mum and dad" pilot.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by rookiepilot »

Squaretail wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:24 am
rookiepilot wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 6:34 pm


So?

There is great need for skilled engineers, doctors, surgeons, businesspeople, firefighters, accountants, and many other professions.

Why do you imply pilots add more value to society, and therefore society should pay their training costs, while the pilot ultimately reaps the rewards?

Uh, no, I'm not saying pilots are particularly valued. What I'm saying is society already aids the rest of those, at least in their initial training. Whether you agree with that or not is up for debate. It would merely be useful from an education perspective if flight training were considered like any other trade. Currently its not, but ultimately its a smaller issue in the big picture of problems with flight training.

On the issue of whether you feel any kind of education should be subsidized, personally I'm on the side that it should be. And that's not because I want education, its because I need a better workforce to draw on and the quality seems to get poorer all the time. On the same token though, I think there's a lot of fat in education that can be trimmed, but someone needs to trim from the top. One could also rein in a lot of needless spending. but that's just my view, Yours may vary.
I didn't get a dime to start my business. I sacrificed a ton to get started, as did my spouse. For many years.

I do get the pleasure of having my government call me and thousands of other small business's, that employ people, nothing more than parasitic tax cheats.

And you all wonder why I have an affinity for America. At least they don't do that.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by TalkingPie »

dialdriver wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:07 pm

I have one of those degrees. I was not heavily subsidized. I paid for it with a combination of savings and student loans. I spent 5 years in student poverty and will miss out on 5 years of late career earnings.

I sucked it up.
I don't know anything about how, where, and when you got your degree, but my auto mechanics diploma cost $1,200, which "I paid." Was that anywhere near its true cost? No, the program was subsidized by the government to make it that cheap. My science diploma cost somewhere around $2,500. Even the $20,000 that my business degree cost without scholarship, bursaries, or loans would have also been far more expensive were it not for the government subsidizing universities. For those taking student loans, those are also subsidized by the government to give a lower interest rate than would otherwise be possible.

Getting into aviation, the airline I work for trained me from zero to become a data controller, and then later, cabin crew, while paying me. Needless to say, there's an order of magnitude or two less training involved to become a clerical worker or flight attendant than a pilot, but the company paid for it all, including time in a million dollar sim. My worst annual salary since I started was about $36,000 in 2008, which is not a whole lot less than a Jazz FO makes his first year after all he's invested to get to that point.

Should the government be subsidizing pilot training? I honestly don't know, but I recognize that there's a difference between my other education and this one. It's up to me to make my own analysis as to whether the career will be worth the cost. So far, with today's conditions, I believe so, but the cost to get it done compared to the salary for the first few years of work does irk me as I pay for each of my lessons with my earned income.

The industry is driven by supply and demand, and as of now there are still enough pilots being produced despite the cost and risk involved. That seems to be changing, though, and the airlines are starting to cry about it. So what happens next? Do the airlines start raising starting wages (and fare prices) or paying for training to entice new pilots? Is it in the public's interest for governments to pay for part of the training to avoid a shortage that affects service, or is it better to import cheap pilots from overseas? I don't know, and I suspect all other interested parties don't either, but will advocate for whatever puts the most money in their own wallets. I also happen to like having money in my wallet.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by rookiepilot »

My problem with subsidizing of education is threefold:

(tourist) demand goes up -- hey why not stay in school, Gov't (meaning the rest of us) are paying;
Costs skyrocket -- look what tuition has done the last 20 years;
Quality plummets. No market incentive exists to compete.

As for pilot shortages, the free market will sort it out, as it does in every profession. Raise wages, raise prices.
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Re: The sad state of regional pilots in Canada

Post by Squaretail »

rookiepilot wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:50 am


And you all wonder why I have an affinity for America. At least they don't do that.
And they heavily subsidize not only pilot training, but also general aviation as a whole. For some reason you never hear the free market proponents criticize that.
the free market will sort it out
The problem is the market when it comes to pilot supply and demand is hardly a free one. Every other nation is looking to corner the market in the airline business. What it boils down to is whether you'd rather have the guy or girl in front flying you around being trained to North American standards or Chinese standards. I know which one I'd rather have.
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