Mr. Speaker, to start off, we are supporting Motion No. 177. That should come as no surprise as I have had previous conversations with our hon. colleague across the way.
However, I am also disappointed. When this motion was first discussed, I had put forth a friendly amendment, as I wanted Parliament to look at some of the causes of pilot shortages and the deterrents that are perhaps stopping the next generation from enlisting to become pilots.
Through my intervention tonight, I want to give some of my thoughts about why there is a pilot shortage. I also want to talk about the serious void that we have of pilots coming in, not only in Canada, but globally. There is a global pilot shortage. There has been a whack of numbers offered. Boeing recently stated that global aviation will need 790,000 new pilots by 2037 to meet the growing demand. The biggest issue right now facing aviation is time, which we do not have as many of our pilots currently fit into the baby-boomer demographic. They are aging out and retiring. We do not have that next generation who are able to take over and become pilots.
For 22 years I was in aviation. I worked on all sides of the industry. I was an owner. I owned an aviation company that worked with airlines in servicing both the back end in terms of baggage handling and ground support, as well as the front end, which was customer service. I was also an owner of a carrier. I was one of the original management and owners of WestJet. Then, I went over to the regulatory side and worked with Transport Canada for a number of years on the airport side and, finally, I was a consultant working all over the world in pursuit of aviation opportunities, security opportunities and trade opportunities for Canada.
I am very familiar with this issue of pilot shortage. As a matter of fact, one of last files I worked on was with one of the largest international carriers in the world that was here doing a job fair, looking for Canadian pilots or Canadian-trained pilots for its major network. Colleagues will be shocked to hear that they were so desperate they were looking for pilots who had even fewer than 100 hours of flight training, which speaks to the seriousness of the pilot shortage issue. The baby-boomer pilots represent almost 50% of the pilots flying today who are about to retire. Over the next 20 years, our commercial passenger market is going to double.
However, this is our real issue. The pilot shortages are now forcing carriers to make route decisions. Air service is such a vital component. It is critical to our northern communities. It is critical to the rural way of life. It connects people. It connects cargo. It provides critical care or critical medical transport.
With air service comes business. In a small community with a daily air service connecting to a larger market, one can be guaranteed that when a business is looking to relocate or invest in that community, it will be looking to connect their executives and employees to and from that area, as well as their goods.
We are seeing a number of issues in terms of the pilot shortage. The duty hour issue is coming in. We are seeing carriers having to make some serious decisions with respect to their route network.
Also, it is becoming increasingly more expensive to operate. Whether it is our uncompetitive environment regarding our tax system or the fee structure that airlines and passengers face when they are flying through our Canadian airports, it is getting harder for carriers to turn a buck.
It is really important to look at this when we deal with Motion No. 177. I know our hon. colleague from Lake Country also shared my point of view with respect to looking at the pilot shortage, not just with respect to the flight school program. Why are we not getting more students to the flight school and how can we develop the Canadian flight schools? Perhaps we could become a centre of excellence. We have some of the best flight instructors in the world.
In my former career, we always talked about what Canada wanted to be when it grew up, if we could look to harness some of the expertise we had with respect to our transportation, our intermodality and the things that we did right in Canada. Would it not be a great opportunity for Canada to have a global centre of excellence for flight training? Would it not be great for Canada to have a global centre of excellence for trucking, rail or marine? These are things we could do if we really opened our minds and became progressive. However, we first have to take away the deterrents and entice the next generation to put their names forward with respect to this industry.
I am wondering if there are things we could do. Could we look at industry as well, working and partnering with training schools to ensure new pilots are being trained for specific gaps in the system? The costs are prohibitive. It costs a new pilot anywhere from $75,000 to $150,000 to become licensed. When they are done their training, very often they have to become what we call either a Tier 3 or bush pilot. They spend a lot of time in Lac La Ronge or a lot of northern communities, flying small aircraft and getting paid probably around to $20,000 to $25,000. Many of my friends have spent a lot of time bunking together and working in rural and remote communities just trying to boost their hours so they can get on to the next carrier.
That is another challenge for carriers. Once pilots are trained, they are going to look for that bigger and better job. I am wondering if there are incentives that schools can offer to encourage a larger enrolment. Can we partner to make it easier for that next generation of pilots to really get into this critical industry? Costs are very prohibitive for that.
I am going to end with this. I want to again echo my support for our hon. colleague. I hope I have a chance to participate in the study. I would offer this regarding the economic impact that our aviation industry and airports have on Canada. There are around 194,000 direct jobs and 355,000 jobs within Canada's aviation sector. Airports handle about 140 million passengers. For every one million passengers, there are about 1,400 jobs, about $93 million in wages, $137 million in GDP and $342 million in economic output.
Aviation is a critical component of our trade and transportation network. We should do what we can to ensure we strengthen Canada's aviation sector. Furthermore, we should be dreaming big and figuring out what Canada wants to be when it grows up.
I offer our humble support for Motion No. 177 put forward by our hon. colleague across the way from Kelowna—Lake Country.