September 9, 2020

RCAF Pilot Shortage Less Acute Thanks to COVID


One of the few good-news stories to come out of the pandemic is from the Royal Canadian Air Force, itself also the subject of a series of tragedies this year. Given the high number of laid-off pilots due to reduced demand for air travel during the pandemic, the air force scaled up its efforts to recruit badly needed pilots for the flight line, and was successful in recruiting four fulltime pilots, all of whom were air force pilots before departing for the airlines. Five others have signed on as reserve pilots.

“The re-enrolment process involves a combined effort by the RCAF, the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group and various career managers, and is one that typically takes several months at minimum to complete,” according to RCAF spokesperson Lt. Nora Amrane.

eFlight readers will recall an article from a year ago citing the RCAF’s need for at least 200 pilots to address the force’s shortfall. The low point was in December of 2018, when there was a shortfall of 275 pilots. However, since then, the force has been reorganized in such a manner that fewer pilots overall were needed. Pilots who were performing desk duties were moved back to the cockpit with non-pilots filling in at the desk.

“While the reduced requirement suggests the CAF is healthier with pilots, as people are transferred or recruited to fill these air operations officer positions, some pilots will still be required to complete the tasks over the next couple of years,” Lt. Amrane added.

The force is still short 149 aviators.