Request for Student Loans for Private Pilot License Training in Alberta

Request for Student Loans for Private Pilot License Training in Alberta

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Sophia Wells started this petition

Attention All Pilots, Would Be Pilots, and Aviation Industry Partners!

Please lend your voice to help us in our request to secure the availability of student loans for private pilots training in Alberta.

Below is a draft letter we have prepared and are planning to send with your name showing your support.

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On behalf of flight schools, professional pilots, and the Alberta aviation industry as a whole, the Edmonton Flying Club is requesting support from the Government of Alberta. Our goal is to obtain funding for students pursuing their pilot's license through theAlberta Student Aid program. 

This is an unprecedented time in the aviation industry worldwide, and we are faced with a critical pilot shortage, a shortage that has the potential to devastate the aviation industry in years to come. Building the provinces’ aerospace sector has been identified in Alberta’s recovery plan as a key to diversifying the economy. It is not possible to become a commercial pilot without obtaining a private license. With the cost of flight training being upwards of $90,000, the inability to obtain student aid is a massive barrier to entry for the average Albertan. Additionally, the lack of representation of low-income and marginalised people in elite industries is stark. Creating more opportunities for all Albertans to become pilots  is the first step in combating our pilot shortage, and could lead to a more diverse workforce. 

In Canada, projected pilot and flight instructor job openings are expected to be substantially higher than job seekers, creating a shortage of workers over the 2019-2028 period. The majority of job openings are projected to arise from employment growth and retirements. Retirements are expected to account for about 61% of total job openings, a proportion comparable to the average of all occupations (about 59% of openings). Employment growth is also expected to be higher than the Canadian average.

Alberta’s aviation sector is an important economic driver. Home to two national airlines, 420 registered business aviation aircraft (with nearly one quarter of Canada’s 1,900 registered business aviation aircraft, this is a major contributor to Alberta’s economy), air cargo operations, helicopter operations, two international airports, 13 flight training schools, and many regional airports and aerodromes, the need for provincially trained and employed pilots is vital to continued success, recovery, and growth.

The Government of Alberta has stated they are committed to helping the aviation industry and making sure our province is ready to meet the increasing demand for highly skilled workers in all sectors of the economy through the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs Strategy. The Strategic Aviation Council of Alberta was recently formed to focus on creating industry opportunities and economic development through the aviation industry. They have identified the need to make pilot training accessible and affordable for Albertans. 

The Edmonton Flying Club was awarded funding from Alberta’s Workforce Partnerships Pathways Program to create a direct link for Albertans graduating from flight schools to employment in the province. The project partners have identified the need for student aid as a step in the right direction to recruit a larger and more diverse student base. s.

Mitigating practices could be put into place to address hobbyist pilots accessing student aid for their Private Pilots License (PPL) with no intent to complete their Commercial Pilots License (CPL).  For instance, student loans could be granted to anyone doing a PPL, but those who do not move on to their CPL, would be required to pay it back in full. In turn, those who go on to their CPL would be granted relief on part of that loan. This is also a great incentive to pursue a career as a pilot in Alberta. 

Providing student aid for students at the PPL level will breathe new life into the aviation sector, provide more opportunities for Albertans to become pilots, and assist Alberta’s aviation companies in their recovery from the pandemic. 

Thank you for your time.

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