From left to right: Stéphanie Léopold, Second-in-command, Sébastien Léopold, Captain, Charles-Antoine Léopold, Second-in-command © Archives/ MédiaQMI inc.

Air Transat and CAE today announced the launch of Ascension Academy, a new cadet training program that enables the airline to build a pipeline of qualified pilots trained to the highest standards. The Ascension Academy program offers aspiring pilots a pathway to earn their wings at CAE’s flight academy, and the opportunity to begin their career as a second-in-command upon completion of their type rating with Air Transat. Applications are now being accepted for training beginning in February 2024.

“The Ascension Academy is a new program that will develop the next generation of Air Transat’s pilots. This program will enable us to recruit and train pilots in advance of the increased demand anticipated over the next years. One of the advantages of the Ascension Academy is that we will have a pipeline of pilots trained to our exacting standards with the specialized knowledge and skill to operate Air Transat’s fleet to destinations throughout our network. Our strong company culture and positive employee experience will certainly attract many candidates,” mentioned Marc Gilbert, Vice President, Flight Operations at Air Transat.

“We are thrilled to launch the Ascension Academy program with Air Transat and partner with a leading Canadian airline on a proactive training approach to meet future demand for pilots,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President, Civil Aviation. “CAE forecasts a need for 63,000 new commercial pilots in North America over the next 10 years [1], and cadet programs like the Ascension Academy will be key to attracting the talent needed to keep the industry flying. The Ascension Academy program will not only secure a steady pipeline of qualified pilots for Air Transat, but it will also set a clear pathway for those who aspire to an exciting career in the flight deck.”

Applicants who are successful in the interview process will be admitted to the Ascension Academy program and receive a conditional letter of employment from Air Transat for a second-in-command position. Upon completion of their training and type rating, Ascension Academy graduates will become fully qualified Air Transat seconds-in-command and fly state-of-the-art Airbus aircraft throughout the airline’s global network, including to transborder and international transatlantic destinations from its hub airports in Montreal (YUL) and Toronto (YYZ). The Ascension Academy represents a unique opportunity for Canadians to make their dream of being a pilot a reality.

The Ascension program provides structure and support to cadets throughout their journey from the classroom to the flight deck, with a team of instructors and pilots from CAE and Air Transat providing mentorship every step of the way.

To learn more about the Ascension Academy program and to apply, please visit this website.

A photo is available at CAE’s Multimedia Centre.

[1] Source: CAE’s Aviation Talent Forecast, 2023 edition


Founded in Montreal 35 years ago, Air Transat is a leading travel brand. Its program offers access to international destinations, mainly in Europe, the Caribbean and the East and West coasts of the U.S. Voted Best Leisure Airline by passengers at the 2023 Skytrax World Airline Awards, Air Transat is recognized for its excellent customer service. By renewing its fleet with the most energy-efficient aircraft in their category, Air Transat is committed to a more sustainable travel industry. Based in Montréal with major hubs in Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) and Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ), it has near 5,000 employees with a common purpose to bring people closer together. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc. (TSX: TRZ).

Follow us on

Twitter: @airtransat


Hashtags: #ExperienceTransat

Media contact

Andrean Gagne, Senior Director, Public Affairs & Corporate Communications
+1 514 987-1616, ext. 104071

[email protected]


At CAE, we equip people in critical roles with the expertise and solutions to create a safer world. As a technology company, we digitalize the physical world, deploying software-based simulation training and critical operations support solutions. Above all else, we empower pilots, cabin crew, airlines, defence and security forces and healthcare practitioners to perform at their best every day and when the stakes are the highest. Around the globe, we’re everywhere customers need us to be with more than 13,000 employees in approximately 250 sites and training locations in over 40 countries. CAE represents more than 75 years of industry firsts—the highest-fidelity flight, mission and medical simulators and training programs powered by digital technologies. We embed sustainability in everything we do. Today and tomorrow, we’ll make sure our customers are ready for the moments that matter.

Read our FY23 Global Annual Activity and Sustainability Report

- 30 -
pdf - 136 KB
General Media
Samantha Golinski
Vice President, Public Affairs and Global Communications
Trade Media
Jessica Shergill
Director, Integrated Marketing, Civil Aviation
Investor Relations
Andrew Arnovitz
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Enterprise Risk Management