Despite laying off 465 employees, slashing executive salaries and cutting capital expenditures in the coronavirus world, simulator and flight training leader CAE sees some silver linings to the current crisis. “We’ve got two simulator orders from [China] in the past week plus one from Singapore,” CEO Marc Parent told the Financial Post.“They’re clearly acting as if this is a temporary issue – although very grave.” The pandemic started in Asia four months ago and government imposed restrictions on travel and commerce are slowly being lifted there as the spread comes under control. He said there have been no order cancellations and the company has about a one-year backlog.
Still, the short term doesn’t look good, he said. “We’re assuming a very tough period ahead,” he told investors on an earnings call. The company’s stock is down 14.6 percent while the overall market dropped 5.3 percent. The furious pace of training for pilots to fill a worldwide pilot shortage has evaporated in a matter of weeks but those pilots will eventually be needed. He said a Chinese airline is actually hiring and others are recalling pilots.