MP Chahal announces federal investment to expand pilot training in Calgary

News release

$3 million in funding to strengthen Calgary’s leadership in aviation and flight training

$3 million through PrairiesCan will double Mount Royal University’s pilot and flight training capacity to meet industry needs

October 20, 2023 – Calgary, Alberta – PrairiesCan

The aviation industry in Alberta and across Canada is growing, resulting in increased demand for pilots and skilled aviation professionals in the air transportation and aircrew industries. The Government of Canada is investing in Alberta’s aviation sector to support the increasing need for pilots and a flight-ready workforce while creating good paying jobs and diversifying Alberta’s economy.

Today, George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview, on behalf of the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan, announced a federal investment of $3 million to help meet the growing demand for skilled aviation professionals to drive the continued growth of Alberta and Canada’s aviation sector.

PrairiesCan funding will enable the expansion of Mount Royal University’s pilot and aviation flight training program—doubling enrollment to 80 students per year in its Aviation Diploma Program and launching a new Bachelor of Aviation Management degree program in 2024. The federal investment will help equip a new hangar and learning facility at the university’s Springbank campus, including new virtual reality technology and flight simulators needed to train a new generation of pilots and aircrew.

Over the next two years, this investment is expected to create more than 70 jobs, assist approximately 10 small- and medium-sized businesses, and train 140 students—including those currently underrepresented in the aviation industry such as women and Indigenous youth.


“Calgary’s post-secondary institutions are playing an essential role in supporting the growth of Alberta’s aviation sector. Our government’s investment towards expanding Mount Royal University’s pilot training facility will help prepare a new generation of aviation professionals to drive the continued growth of Alberta’s aviation industry and the high-quality jobs that it creates for people and communities across the province.”
–The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan

“Calgary’s significant expertise and strengths in the aviation sector are only getting bigger and better with projects such as this expanded pilot training facility at Mount Royal University. I’m proud to see our government investing in an initiative that will have a tangible impact on training the pilots and skilled aviation workers needed for this growing industry.”
–George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview 

“Alberta’s aviation industry is really taking off! As our economy continues to grow and diversify, investment in aviation skills development, attraction, and retention will strengthen Alberta’s talent pipeline and keep our province moving forward.”
–The Honourable Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education, Government of Alberta 

“The demand for pilots continues to grow and today’s announcement speaks to the strength of MRU’s aviation program, the vital role of education in advancing the aviation sector, and its importance to the future economy of Alberta. This funding boost allows Mount Royal University to connect even more students, who aspire to be pilots or aviation professionals, with the education they need to meet the demands of the growing aviation sector.”
–Tim Rahilly, PhD, President and Vice-Chancellor, Mount Royal University

Quick facts

  • PrairiesCan funding of $3 million announced today is allocated through its Community Economic Development and Diversification Program (CEDD).

  • Through the CEDD program, PrairiesCan makes targeted investments that aim to generate sustainable, inclusive economic growth and help communities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to fully participate in and benefit from economic opportunities.

  • Today’s funding complements recent PrairiesCan investments in Alberta’s aerospace sector—including over $2.5 million to enable the University of Calgary to establish an Aerospace Innovation Hub and over $1.4 million to support Canada’s first remotely piloted aviation training centre for heavy-lift drones training, maintenance, and certification at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).

Associated links


Kyle Allen
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Rohit Sandhu
Communications Manager
Prairies Economic Development Canada

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