Nolinor Solves Its Pilot Shortage Problem

Nolinor Aviation, a privately owned charter air operator based in Mirabel, Quebec, has taken a novel approach, at least in Canada, in addressing pilot shortages. In 2020, the company purchased a Cessna 172 to be used for training existing and future employees who want to become pilots. The company refers to the initiative as their Become a Pilot program. All training costs are borne by Nolinor. The program has proven so successful that it has recently added a second 172 to its training fleet.

In a recent press release, Nolinor Aviation president Marco Prud’Homme told of his personal connection to the latest addition to his training fleet, a 1960 172A model.

“In the fall of 2021, I shared a message on social media about the entrepreneurial legacy of my grandfather Victorien, illustrated by a vintage photo of him in front of his first plane, a Cessna 172 registered CF-HWO,” recounted Prud’Homme. “Shortly after this post, Simon Contant of Air Tunilik informed us that this plane had been abandoned in Laval for over 12 years. After an initial inspection, the decision was made to repurchase and restore the aircraft.” Nolinor has put more than $275,000 into its restoration and numerous upgrades, including a state-of-the-art glass panel.

To date over 20 employees have been trained as commercial pilots, and more than 10 of them now work for Nolinor as line pilots.

Nolinor Aviation was founded in 1992 and remains owned by the Prud’Homme family trust. It operates a charter fleet composed of Boeing 737s, including the 737-200 (a type for which the company claims to be the world’s largest operator), 737-300, 737-400 and the 737-800, its most recent addition. Some of the 737s are branded separately as OWG (representing Off We Go) and serves the company’s leisure destinations.