Working at Air Canada
Voted the best airline in North America in the 2007 Skytrax World Airline Awards, Air Canada has also been selected as one of Montreal's top 15 employers by the Montreal Gazette in 2008. Become part of the diverse, innovative team that connects Canada and the world, and let your career take flight.
Each Air Canada pilot is part of the company's proud history of commercial aviation. The men and women piloting innovative new aircraft like the Boeing 777 are part of a tradition that goes back to our first gleaming silver Lockheed 10A Electra. For more than 70 years, Air Canada pilots have been connecting Canada and the world.
Whether a Captain, a First Officer or Relief Pilot, an Air Canada pilot's number one priority is to conduct each flight safely, with due consideration to passenger comfort and on-time performance. While the typical work month consists of approximately 80 hours of flying, pilots spend many additional hours on such ground duties as preparing flight plans, readying the aircraft for departure, and completing post-flight reports. A day's work may vary from a long-range international flight to a sequence of shorter domestic flights. Reserve duty, in which the pilot is "on call", may also be assigned. Air Canada pilots operate out of one of our four crew bases: Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg or Vancouver. Base preferences are awarded by seniority, so pilots must be willing to relocate as assigned. Pilots typically begin their career as a First Officer on domestic aircraft or as a Relief Pilot on long-range, international flights.
- 2000 hours of fixed wing flying time
- Completion of schooling to the university entrance level
- Ability to pass the Air Canada and Transport Canada medical and visual acuity requirements for a Category 1 medical certificate
- Canadian Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), current Group 1 (Multi-engine) Instrument Rating
- Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant status
Pilot applications far exceed job vacancies, so preference is given to candidates with qualifications beyond the basic requirements. Examples of desirable additional qualifications include, but are not limited to:
- Graduates of a three or four year diploma/degree program from a college or university
- Aviation College degree or diploma
- Commercial or military flight experience
- Jet and/or glass cockpit experience
Key Success Factors
- Safety - Air Canada's pilots put safety first. The safe operation of all flights is paramount.
- Teamwork - An Air Canada pilot's job requires constant interaction with all areas of the operation. From the co-pilot to the ramp attendants, communication and interpersonal skills are a daily part of the job.
- Open to change - A pilot's work requires flexibility and adaptability. Air Canada pilots are expected to conduct themselves professionally under all circumstances.
A Day in the Life
Check-in is one hour and 15 minutes prior to departure but I try to show up a little early as it is certain I will bump into some colleagues at flight planning. Undoubtedly, the number one question heard is, "where are you off to?" Answers range from a fifteen-hour polar Hong Kong flight, to a short Rapidair over to Ottawa. We print the flight plan along with the many pertinent weather charts. Sometimes a quick call to flight dispatch located off airport premises is warranted to check on changing weather conditions and ride reports.
Then it’s off to the gate and we settle into the flight deck. Walk-arounds, log book checks, and briefings to the flight attendants are just a few of the many things transpiring as we ready for an on-time departure. Ramp checks, fuel checks, and inputting the flight plan into the onboard computers are all part of the job description.
Push back commences with everything abiding to standard operating procedures. Taxiing to the active runway entails more checks. Finally, a "cleared for takeoff" is read back to the control tower. Again, everyone sticks to the script as we begin the takeoff roll. I think for the majority of us, even after many years on the job, there is still tingle of excitement when the take-off thrust is set, confirming, "We are going flying!"
Doug Morris, YYZ A320 Captain
How I became an Air Canada Pilot
As a ten year old I had the opportunity to visit the flight deck on an Air Canada flight, and with that the aviation bug was firmly planted! I knew then I wanted to be an Air Canada pilot. I joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and was successful in receiving my Glider and Private Pilot licences before graduating high school. An engineering program and the remainder of my flying licences were completed over the next few years.
After 10 years of building experience, I got the call, "Your course starts in two weeks, can you be there?" You can guess my answer!
I now have completed over 12 great years of living my dream. I have flown on regional, domestic and international routes. I am currently a Captain on the Airbus 320 and I look forward to the arrival of the 787 Dreamliner.
That's how I became an Air Canada Pilot!
Brian Bartlett, YYZ A320 Captain
Voted recently as Business Traveler Magazine’s Best Flight Attendants in North America, our Flight Attendants are ambassadors of the customer experience onboard each Air Canada flight. Roles of our Flight Attendants include safety professional, caregiver and service provider. The Flight Attendant demonstrates a sincere desire to be of service to Air Canada’s customers and effectively handles diverse and challenging situations with poise and diplomacy. Air Canada’s Flight Attendants make an immediate and lasting positive impression.
- Perform safety related duties as outlined in the Flight Attendant Safety Manual including safety demonstrations, in-flight announcements and responding to a broad range of in-flight situations
- Consistently deliver friendly and approachable customer service through the serving of beverages and snacks, and the selling of Air Canada products, onboard meals, amenities and duty free articles
- Display a caring disposition and treat each customer as an individual
- Anticipate and respond quickly and pleasantly to our customer needs
- Safety conscious
- Possess a valid Canadian passport
- Minimum age - 18 years
- High school graduation diploma or equivalent
- Able to meet our medical standards
- Able to obtain Transport Canada's Security clearance
- Well groomed and self-confident
- Must successfully complete our seven week initial training program
Strong consideration will also be given to candidates fluent in English or French and one or more of the following languages: Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Portuguese, Greek, Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Punjabi and Turkish.
Key Success Factors
- Safety First - It's all about Safety. The primary role of an Air Canada Flight Attendant is to ensure the safety and security of our customers and crew.
- Service with Flair - Our Flight Attendants exhibit a warm, caring, and professional disposition when dealing with all of our customers, regardless of the situation. Our Flight Attendants are able to anticipate customer needs, and answer them with a grace and professionalism.
- Adaptability - In an ever-changing environment, our Flight Attendants need to adapt to what can sometimes be quite challenging situations. The work environment is dynamic and fast paced, and includes long hours, changing time zones, new routes, new colleagues, and the latest in innovative products and services. Flexibility is essential.
- Teamwork - Air Canada Flight Attendants are part of a team that demands individuals pool resources and knowledge to ensure quality service for each of our customers. Excellent communication skills, strong leadership abilities, tact, diplomacy and friendliness are indispensable ingredients for success.
A Day in the Life
My alarm sounds, waking me from a sound sleep. I put on my Flight Attendant uniform, straighten my scarf, check my luggage and passport, and I'm off to the airport.
Upon boarding the aircraft we have many safety-related duties to complete, including checking equipment and completing our crew safety briefing. As the passengers board, we are checking boarding passes, providing assistance to our special attention passengers, helping customers find their seats, preparing the galley, and standing on alert in the cabin while the safety video is played.
Once the aircraft reaches cruising altitude, you may find me in the galley, busy heating and plating meals, giving an extra smile to a first-time flyer, or passing through the cabin with a beverage or boutique trolley.
As we arrive at the gate, I am at the door, thanking each of our customers for traveling with Air Canada. The crew deplanes as a group, and we head to the crew bus en route to our layover hotel - another exciting and busy day done.
Susan, Flight Attendant - YUL
How I became an Air Canada Flight Attendant
I was very fortunate growing up to have travelled all over the world with my family. I guess that's where my love of aviation started. I had one very special flight on Air Canada while returning home as an unaccompanied minor. On boarding, I was introduced to all the Flight Attendants and at once I felt at ease, almost forgetting I was travelling alone. I was invited by the crew to "Welcome Passengers" as they boarded the aircraft, and I even got to deliver a few meal trays. One of the crew said, "I think he has what it takes to become a Flight Attendant." I guess those words stuck with me.
Paul Evans , Flight Attendant
Customer Services (airport & call centre)
Building & facility maintenance
Airport & Cargo ground services
Air Canada Maintenance department is responsible for the airworthiness of all our aircraft. Aircraft Maintenance Engineers make the final decision as to whether an aircraft is ready for flight, a decision governed by the principle of “Safety First”. As such, maintenance is involved in almost all aspects of the airline, from where we fly, to how often we fly and when we fly.
Air Canada maintenance teams are required to complete highly technical work, including maintaining and repairing the aircraft, operating aircraft systems and engines, as well as taxiing the aircraft. Ask a pilot what he thinks about maintenance, and you will learn that this may very well be the most important department within an airline.
Skilled trades involved in the maintenance of aircraft at Air Canada
Previous experience is required for employment as a technician / mechanic. However, from time to time openings are available to candidates with little or no technical experience in aircraft maintenance. In such cases applicants are placed in the "junior" classification. These employees can progress from the "junior" to the aircraft technician / mechanic classification.
The educational requirement for “junior” is High School completion. However preference is given to candidates who, in addition, have completed a technical course at a recognized institution, such as a Transport Canada approved school. Certain trades (*) require a diploma from a Transport Canada approved school.
Aircraft Maintenance Technician - Technicians are responsible for performing scheduled maintenance, defect rectification, and troubleshooting Company and customer aircraft. Working in the hangar and on the ramp, technicians are involved in repairing such things as flight control systems, landing gear, fuel systems, hydraulic systems, etc. Candidates hired as Aircraft Technicians require a college certificate (in Aviation maintenance) or equivalent schooling from a Ministry of Transport approved school. In order to be eligible for promotion above the level of a Technician, a suitably rated Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) ‘M” license is required and can be sought after four years of documented work experience.
Aircraft Avionics Technician - Technicians are responsible for scheduled maintenance, defect rectification, and troubleshooting Company and customer aircraft. Working in the hangar and on the ramp, technicians are involved in the maintenance of electronic and electrical systems on the aircraft such as communications, navigation, auto pilot, flight recording, in-flight entertainment systems, lighting, and all electrically controlled systems. Candidates hired as Avionics Technicians require a college certificate (in Aviation) or equivalent schooling from a Ministry of Transport approved school. In order to be eligible for promotion above the level of a Technician, a suitably rated Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) “E” license is required and can be sought after four years of documented work experience.
Aircraft Sheet Metal technicians - Technician assessing damage and corrosion of aircraft structures; repairing, replacing and modifying sheet metal or composite structures Candidates hired as Structural Technicians require a college certificate (in Aviation) or equivalent schooling from a Ministry of Transport approved school. In order to be eligible for promotion above the level of a Technician, a suitably rated Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) “S” license is required and can be sought after three years of documented work experience.
Trim and Fabrication Mechanic - Mechanics are engaged in the repair of all aircraft furnishing, fabric work (which include chairs, carpets, drapes, and paneling). Mechanics may also be involved in the maintenance of the interior of the aircraft, including doors, windows, and the replacement of evacuation slides and windshields. Candidates hired as Trim and Fabrication Mechanics require a High School trade certificate. Preference is given to candidates who are a Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council (CAMC) registered Aircraft Interior Technician, or have knowledge of upholstery work and cabinet making.
Painting - This includes all paint work relating to the aircraft, engines, units and ground equipment. Preference is given to candidates who are a Canadian Aviation Maintenance Council (CAMC) registered Aviation Painter.
A Day in the Life of an Aircraft Technician
My working hours are from 20:45 to 07:45, so my day starts at 18:30 after my after-dinner nap. I get ready quickly and drive to work. At the beginning of the shift we have a briefing on our work duties for the night. The nights are quite busy. I move the aircraft that I will be working on to the hangar, plus some aircraft on the ramp that my coworkers and I have to take care of. My work includes changing units of different systems, engine changes, trouble-shooting, and completing the log books. This is to ensure that by the early the next morning at 06:00, the aircraft are ready to be dispatched. At 07:00 the aircraft are cleaned and prepared, unless we have any surprises on any departures. The rest of my day is spent sleeping and participating in family obligations.
How I became an Air Canada Aircraft Technician
I finished college with a Diploma as an Aircraft Technician (Mechanic) and my first job was at Pratt-Whitney on engine overhaul. It was a great experience but I wanted more. My next job was at Bombardier where I worked building the first Challenger. However, my dream was to work for an airline. One day I was talking to an ex-classmate and he told me that Air Canada was hiring. Well, the next day I went to work late so that I could apply at Air Canada. Three weeks later I was a permanent employee. As the years passed, I went through all of the levels for a technician and obtained the licenses for different aircraft. At Air Canada, I have always worked in line maintenance. What a dream!
A Day in the Life of an Aircraft Technician
It is 6 o'clock and I enter in the hangar where there are 2 aircraft being worked on by the midnight shift. My partner and I will be taking care of aircraft fin 318 which has one of its radio altimeter systems giving erratic indications to the flight crew.
The transceiver has previously been replaced which did not fix the problem. Before removing the antennas, we search the maintenance manuals (our bible) to find the procedures to address the problem, and we also to put in a requisition for gaskets for the antennas. It's 07:30 and our lead tells us that the other aircraft is ready for flight and we have to bring it to the ramp on gate for departure.
When we get back to the hangar, we continue work on the antenna. We eventually discover the coax connector is full of fluid and that corrosion has started to settle in. Bingo, we got it. We move back to the office to order an antenna and a cable.
While ordering the part, our lead comes in the office and tells us that aircraft 232 needs to be picked-up at gate 74. The crew is reassembled and we go pick the aircraft up and take it to the hangar.
The parts for the radio altimeter arrive and we install them. Final system checks are carried out, after informing our lead of the situation, he lets us know that the plane will be used on an 18:00 hrs departure to Miami.