LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — With an estimated economic impact of $220 million over the next decade — including 75 good-paying jobs — a new pilot training facility is up and running near Harry Reid International Airport.
CAE is a Montreal-based world leader in aviation training, operating in 40 countries. The company’s newest facility, just south of the airport along Sunset Road at Bruce Street, is a sparkling addition to the Nevada economy. It marks CAE’s first facility near the West Coast — and it’s already “bursting” with business, according to Marc Parent, president and CEO.
Pilots are required to complete simulator training every six months, practicing emergency procedures and undergoing an examiner’s assessment. Now, they can do it in Las Vegas.
CAE began operations in Las Vegas in October, and Parent said Tuesday the company already sees room to expand. The 75 jobs could soon grow to 100.
The tech and training company is a prime example of the types of businesses Nevada has tried to attract to diversify the economy.
U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.) and Tom Burns, director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, were among the officials on hand as Parent cut the ribbon in a ceremony followed by a toast. “Here’s to clear skies and smooth landings. Wherever their adventures take them, cheers to CAE Las Vegas,” Parent said.
Overall employment of airline and commercial pilots is projected to grow 6% by 2031 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There’s currently a shortage of airline pilots as a generation of experienced employees get to retirement age.
The state-of-the-art 50,000-square-foot facility is expected to train 2,500 pilots each year.
Tuesday’s events brought company officials in from Canada, and some remarked that the ties to Las Vegas just keep growing — the “Three C’s” include Celine Dion, Cirque du Soleil and now CAE.
One guest took advantage of the opportunity to see what it’s like to fly an airplane, getting behind the wheel of one of the CAE simulators set up as a Gulfstream G650. Thierry Weissenburger, Consul & Senior Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles, remarked on the similarity to a video game as he made several turns.
Two of the simulators gently bobbed up and down as the ceremony went on — one was set up just to move to the music.
“This is just a perfect complement to our aviation industry here in Southern Nevada,” Lee said. More than half of the current workforce at the new facility are veterans, she said.