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Sold out Careers in Aviation Expo inspires next generation

May 9, 2023  By Wings Staff

WestJet pilot Leah Varga leads a Breakout Session with Careers in Aviation Expo attendees. (Photo: Jon Robinson, Wings)

More than 550 people attended the annual Careers in Aviation Expo, held on May 6 in WestJet’s South Bay Hangar at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The sold-out expo provided attendees with access to four main-stage presentations from industry leaders, 30 Breakout Sessions with mentors covering a range of aviation sectors, 42 industry-leading exhibitors, and four aircraft on static display – all within WestJet’s massive maintenance hangar used primarily for 787s, 737s and its smaller Q400 aircraft.

Gandeephan Ganeshalingam, Vice President of Technical Operations with WestJet, kicked the day off with a keynote presentation providing attendees with a bird’s eye view of aviation, before discussing the growth and direction of WestJet, as well as career opportunities in the industry. The day featured main-stage presentations from executives of two other airlines to illustrate the diverse operating models active in Canada. This included a presentation from Lawrence Hughes, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Porter Airlines, who discussed the growth of the boutique airline and its unique economy class approach to the jetliner market.

Grey Cooper, Manager, Pilot Training with Flair Airlines then rounded out the airline model discuss with a presentation called ULCC Concepts, Innovation, Advancements & Opportunities. Michael Nault, Director of Commercial Programs with Bell Textron Canada also provided a main-stage presentation focusing on trends in the helicopter and vertical lift sector, the breadth of Bell’s operations and innovations, and the range of opportunities in aerospace engineering.

In between these four main-stage presentations, attendees in small groups participated in a range of Breakout Sessions they had preregistered for, discussing career opportunities with experienced fixed wing pilots and AMEs, Air Traffic Controllers, FBO and military leaders, airline operations leaders and helicopter pilots, among others.


A highlight of the one-day event was its static display with one of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s new CH-148 Cyclone helicopters, which was joined by a WestJet Q400, Ornge PC-12 and Select Aviation Robinson R44.

WestJet served as the Premier Sponsor for the first leg of the 2023 Careers in Aviation Expo, with Porter Airlines as Platinum Sponsor, CAE and Diamond Aircraft as Silver Sponsors, and Centennial College as Bronze Sponsor.

This was the first leg of the Careers in Aviation Expo for 2023, with Wings and Helicopters on October 24 in Calgary set to take part in a wider Careers Expo West with Police, Firefighting and Security media brands also controlled by parent company Annex Business Media.


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