Pilot Flow To Air Canada ‘Constrains’ Jazz Capacity

Air Canada Express CRJ200

Air Canada Express CRJ200 operated by Jazz

Credit: Air Canada

Over 300 captain or captain-eligible pilots have transferred to Air Canada from Jazz Aviation over the past 12 months, reports the regional airline’s parent company, Chorus Aviation.

“Our pilot flow agreement with Air Canada is working as intended,” President and CEO Colin Copp told analysts and investors Aug. 4 during a 2023 second quarter (Q2) earnings call. “During the same period, we’ve successfully recruited and trained over 300 pilots and continue to see a good supply of new-hire pilots.”

The flow has put pressure on Jazz flying, company executives say, noting some attrition to other mainline carriers as well. Describing the production in annual block hours as “temporarily constrained” while new hires are trained, the reduction in flying has not affected Jazz’s earnings, Copp noted.

“We are actively recruiting pilots and continue to grow our pipeline of future pilots through our Jazz Pathway program and our new flight training academy, Cygnet Aviation,” Copp said. “The leadership team at Jazz is very focused on collaborating with our partner Air Canada to coordinate pilot flow and flying capacity.”

Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Chorus launched Cygnet Aviation Academy in March in collaboration with flight training systems manufacturer CAE. In addition to Jazz, it also owns charter and aeromedical carrier Voyageur Airways. Jazz operates eight Bombardier CRJ200LRs, 33 CRJ900s, 36 De Havilland Canada Dash-8 400s and 21 Embraer E175s, according to the Aviation Week Network Fleet Discovery Database.

Falko Regional Aircraft, an aircraft lessor, is also under the Chorus portfolio and recorded 20 aircraft transactions in Q2 with a total of nine airline customers operating in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America. These included a sale and leaseback for an E195-E2 with Porter Airlines, the final placement in a previously announced deal for five.

“In general, what we’re seeing is the regional aviation market continuing to show improvements with aircraft market values, and lease rates showing signs of recovery from the pandemic lows,” Copp said.

Chorus reported Q2 revenues of C$396.8 million ($294.5 million), up 1.1% year-over-year, on an 11.4% drop in expenses to C$341.4 million. It posted Q2 net income of C$20.3 million, reversed from a year-ago loss of C$40.4 million. Its Regional Aviation Services segment—which includes contract flying, charter operations and maintenance, repair and overhaul services performed by Jazz and Voyageur, as well as Cygnet pilot training—accounted for C$327.3 million, or 82.5% of total revenues.

Christine Boynton

Christine Boynton is a Senior Editor covering air transport in the Americas for Aviation Week Network.