June 12, 2023

Alberta Stories

Taking flight: Alberta’s soaring aviation industry 

The Invest Alberta team is gearing up to attend the Paris Air Show from June 19 – 25, 2023 

The aviation and aerospace industry impact the way we travel, shape global connections, and fuel technological advancements. In our ever-growing world, this multibillion-dollar sector keeps us connected. Beyond the marvel of flight, the industry also plays a vital role in driving economic growth. From bustling airports to robust air transportation services, the dynamic industry has a profound impact on Alberta’s economy. 

Alberta is the destination of choice for investments in the aviation and aerospace sector. With a competitive business environment, strategic location, research and development, and a growing talent pool, we are just getting started. 

Airports take off to new heights 

Benefiting from two of Canada’s largest international airports, Alberta is well-connected and ensures access to global markets. The Calgary International Airport is seeing a near-full recovery with passenger numbers and revenue soaring towards pre-COVID levels. Likewise, the Edmonton International Airport expects passenger numbers to reach 90% of pre-COVID levels by the end of 2023.  

The Alberta Aerospace and Technology Centre (AATC) at the Edmonton International Airport is a comprehensive training hub that is growing talent with programs to fill in-demand jobs including synthetic flight training, fuel and heating innovation, sustainability, and more. 

Wings of support propel the aviation sector 

The rapid expansion of Alberta’s aviation industry means an increased demand for skilled professionals to navigate the sector’s soaring growth. Currently, over 20,000 Albertans power the province’s aerospace industry in key electronics, aero-structures, and general machining occupations. The Government of Alberta is investing $5 million to diversify the aviation industry with the Aviation Skills Grant to strengthen the talent pool and create more high paying jobs. 

New aviation technology training is also taking flight at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) with the launch of a remotely piloted heavy-lift aviation training centre in Calgary. This program will train pilots and technicians on remotely operated aircrafts with payload capacities of 55 pounds or more. 

De Havilland Canada also recently announced that their new aircraft facility will be built in Wheatland County, Alberta. The 1500-acre location, De Havilland Field, will consist of a state-of-the-art aircraft assembly facility, runway, parts manufacturing and distribution centres, and a maintenance, repair, and overhaul centre. The site will also be home to an educational space for training the workforce of the future as well as general office buildings and a De Havilland aircraft museum. 

Soaring benefits of in-person events 

Events and conferences play a pivotal role in the aviation industry, serving as a catalyst for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and innovation. Invest Alberta is always looking to connect with industry leaders and innovators, and embracing these events is just one way we do it. 

The biennial Paris Air Show is a great example of an industry event that creates opportunities to connect and showcase the latest technological advances. Through meetings and seminars, the venue provides a chance to explore partnerships and drive the growth of the aviation industry. 

The Invest Alberta team recently attended the world’s largest aviation event, MRO Americas in Atlanta, Georgia. Aviation Week brought the industry together and provided opportunities to learn about emerging trends while sharing Alberta’s position as a premier destination for aviation and aerospace expansion. 

Invest Alberta’s Virginie Striebel at De Havilland’s booth at MRO Americas

Alberta stands as a central hub for Canadian aviation, housing an impressive fleet of 420 registered business aviation aircraft out of the country’s total of 1,900. Beyond this, the low taxes and business-friendly policies make Alberta the perfect place for innovative aviation and aerospace organizations to invest. The province has better availability of industrial real estate, and at lower overall costs, than any other Canadian province. 

Industry giants like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are growing their footprint, while Calgary-based satellite navigation maker NovAtel and aircraft manufacturer De Havilland are also innovating in the province. Alberta also boasts the first Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) airspace test range of its kind in Canada at Foremost UAS Test Range’s 700 square nautical miles of restricted airspace. 

The aviation sector in Alberta continues to stand as a beacon of progress, innovation, and limitless potential. As the province continues to embrace technological advancements, nurture a highly skilled workforce, and build strong connections, it solidifies its position as a key player in the global aviation landscape. As we cast our gaze towards the horizon, a promising future awaits Alberta’s aviation and aerospace sector. Destined for remarkable growth and achievements, the sky is not the limit—it’s just the beginning! 

Learn more about Alberta’s Aviation & Logistics sector. 

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