Who protects lives in the skies over Canada?

Our pilots are some of the best-trained in the industry, dedicated to always putting passenger safety first.

Each year, planes safely take off and land more than 5 million times at Canadian airports — some of these flights are a community’s only link to food, fuel and medical supplies.

In addition to the routinely harsh weather that can be found across this very large country, Canadian pilots exceed expectations while overcoming challenging infrastructure environments, like landing and taking off from gravel and ice ”runways,” airports without proper runway safety areas, limited radar coverage, and more. These brave men and women are the ones who make economic opportunities possible in remote areas like the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Alaskan fringes of North America.

Despite the unique challenges we face, the Canadian standard for passenger and cargo safety is unmatched. With continuous training to maneuver through hazardous weather, land on icy runways, and fly through engine failures, our pilots are ready for the unexpected and prepared for the future. They are trained for life.

Can you guess what your pilot is checking while you’re checking in?

Before every flight, pilots inspect their aircraft top to bottom, personally confirming that critical systems are in working order. A small sample:

Flight deck prep

Aircraft weight and balance

Hydraulic pressure

Caution and warning



Gear pins & covers




Thrust Levers

Parking brake


Ecam status


Flight controls

Flap setting

Flex temperature


Rigorous training helps airline pilots read the skies like a book. Can you see what they see?

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Icy conditions can change the aerodynamics, handling qualities, and performance of the aircraft and its engines. Pilots are trained extensively in recognizing specific types of icing, how they affect various aircraft, and the procedures to use when those conditions are encountered.

A sudden change in the direction and strength of the wind, especially dangerous at low levels. Wind-shear recognition includes a sudden loss or increase of airspeed, while recovery may include advancing the throttle to maximum power while controlling aircraft pitch.


The result of differing air density. Although modern airlines are designed to withstand these conditions and pilots are trained to fly through them, they often avoid areas of reported or forecasted turbulence in order to maximize passenger safety and comfort.

The most common way to navigate these hazards is to avoid them altogether. Pilots predict them through weather forecasts, radar, and other pilots’ reports. They then use their best judgement to consider other options, such as delaying departure/arrival or flying around a storm’s path.

& Hail
5,100 Canadian airline pilots Plane

What role does ALPA play?

Representing more than 5,100 Canadian airline pilots at 11 airlines, ALPA advocates for key safety measures, the highest standards and important regulations that help Canadian aviation thrive in the global market place.

Fatigue Regulations
Fatigue affects everyone, but it can be especially disastrous in a cockpit. ALPA advocates for science-based rules on mitigating fatigue, based on the experience and expertise of the pilots who fly these flights.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
ALPA has been working with Transport Canada to address the indiscriminate and potentially dangerous operation of UAS as they are integrated into the airspace. Our work in the soon-to-be-released UAS regulations will make Canadian airspace safer for everyone.
Shining a laser at an aircraft poses significant safety risks for pilots and passengers. ALPA strongly supports combined efforts that focus on education, reporting, law enforcement with penalties, and technology in combating this serious issue.
Modernizing Canadian Airspace
Some of Canada’s far northern airports serve as en-route alternates for extended operations and long-range transpolar flights. ALPA advocates for increasing safety and reducing pilot workload through improving navigational procedures, an adequate number of landing sites and improved airport infrastructure, as well as medical facilities and housing for passengers should a flight be required to divert due to weather or an emergency.

ALPA's Canadian Members:

Air Georgian
Air Transat
Calm Air
Canadian North
First Air
KF Aerospace
WestJet Encore