CAE recently broadened the scope of its pilot provisioning initiative by signing contracts with Jazeera Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and Wizz Air to source, recruit and train more than 600 candidate pilots over a four-year period.
"I think it's now widely accepted that there is a shortage of qualified crewmembers to transport and fly commercial airplanes," Innovation and Civil Training & Services Group President Jeff Roberts tells Airline Procurement. "The good news is that it's certainly not a demand question. The issue is on the supply side."
CAE's deals with Jazeera, Kingfisher and Wizz include training on A320s at facilities in Dubai and Madrid. Last month the company added SAA Flight Training, Hub'Air and Moncton Flight College to its Global Academy, a network of flight training organizations offering prospective pilots hands-on instruction aimed at maturing prospective pilots into first officers on commercial aircraft.
"We are transferring an incredible amount of information in a practical and operational way, so student pilots are able to apply it right away," explains Roberts. "You introduce as many scenarios and variances as possible, all the situations pilots could encounter in their professional career. This allows them to learn in a real-world capacity right from the get-go."
CAE trains more than 100,000 crewmembers annually and over the past year it has recruited and taught more than 700 pilots in its supply programs. The company uses an international database to source potential candidates, who are screened and selected for training based on a rigorous set of standards.
"You've got to get the right guys coming through this or you can't guarantee the result on the other end," Roberts points out. "Make no mistake, our name is on the line, so these guys have got to meet the highest standards from a quality standpoint. When they graduate they will have demonstrated proficiency levels appropriate and specific to the operations of whatever type of airplane that they're going to be flying."
Shortly before its deals with Jazeera, Kingfisher and Wizz, CAE signed contracts with Ryanair and Interglobe Aviation to train 1,490 pilots over the next four years. Under the Ryanair deal, CAE will source, recruit and instruct 1,200 candidates, from cadets to captains, in preparation for line training on 737-800 procedures. The IndiGo agreement calls for CAE to procure and train 290 first officer and captain candidates for the carrier's A320 fleet. Together the contracts are valued at about C$30 million ($29.85 million).
"We have complete confidence in CAE's ability not only to train our future pilots, but also to support us with the work involved in sourcing and screening candidates," IndiGo COO Steve Harfst remarked. "Having a global network of training facilities is a great advantage. CAE makes training very accessible and more affordable for candidates. Factors like these confirm our confidence in CAE's ability to provide the best pilots for our operation."