As one of the world's leading providers of simulation technologies and integrated training services for the civilian aviation industry, CAE's role in civilian aviation has expanded rapidly since 2001.

Does a shortage of qualified airline pilots exist now?

Without a doubt! The pilot shortage we keep reading about is real and it's growing. However, it's not specific to the airline industry - business aviation is facing a similar challenge. Predicted global demand will mean the airline industry is looking to recruit up to 18,000 pilots a year over the next 20 years. The services that we provide at CAE are designed to help address this worldwide shortfall.

We have 110 full-flight simulators in more than 20 aviation training centres, serving around 3,500 airlines, aircraft operators and manufacturers across the globe. Since starting our civilian training operations in 2001 we've teamed up with airlines and a number of original equipment manufactuers to offer better services to customers, for example the CAE-Airbus co-operation, established in 2002. CAE is partnering the manufacturer by combining our two companies' networks of global training centres.

How does CAE approach its pilot training services?

We have a dual approach. The first is our industry stream, which in effect is a database detailing the experience and type certifications of more than 4,000 currently qualified airline pilots. An in-depth screening and selection process is used to cross match their skills with the requirements of our major airline customers.

The second element is through our Global Academy stream. This was launched in July last year and is specifically tailored to provide ab initio training up to air transport pilot licence standard. The Global Academy consists of six training organisations spanning the globe. Our Academia Aeronáutica de Évora (AEE) facility in Portugal is wholly owned by CAE. We also have five alliance members: one each in Belgium, Canada and Malaysia and two in the USA. Combined, these six training providers have a capacity of more than 1,000 pilots a year, but we are hoping to double that figure over the next 12 months.

Where do you see the worst pilot shortage "hotspots"?

The rapid expansion of the regional airline market in the USA is a having a profound impact on recruitment in North America. Looking further afield, China and India are both beginning to realise their massive potential. The Indian market in particular is looking to expand and requires about 1,000 new pilots each year for the next five years.

CAE has just signed a memorandum of understanding for a joint venture to develop the National Flying Training Institute, while a second memorandum of understanding makes us the managing partner at the Indian government's flight training academy: Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi. More than 400 pilots would be licensed annually through these new schools.

Can European or North American pilots work in India?

Absolutely! There are administrative challenges to be overcome, but CAE can help negotiate the red tape and the Indian government is acutely aware of its aviation industry's pressing need to recruit.

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Source: Flight International