‘It’s the greatest job in the world’: Captain flies retirement flight with brother as co-pilot

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Tom Podolec, CTV News Toronto, Saturday, September 21, 2019

After 40 years and five months of flying with Air Canada, Captain Paul Albers piloted his last commercial flight Wednesday.

But this was no ordinary retirement flight.

“What made this particularly special, I was joined in the flight deck by my brother, First Officer Andre Albers,” Captain Paul Albers said.

Both brothers are Boeing 787 Dreamliner pilots with Air Canada and say that this flight was extra special. First Officer Andre Albers was thrilled at the opportunity of sharing his brother’s retirement flight with him, saying it was an experience of a lifetime.

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Captain Paul Albers and his brother First Officer Andre Albers are seen here. (Gaby Blanke)

It’s not the first time they’ve shared the cockpit together, “we’ve flown together on approximately 25-28 flights, but to actually be able to do your brother’s retirement flight is a dream, a dream come true.”

The last flight for Captain Albers was Air Canada 857 from London to Toronto.

On their approach to Toronto Pearson Airport several air traffic controllers passed on their well wishes as they travelled through their area.

A NAV CANADA controller at Toronto Pearson tower remarked, “Captain, I just wanted to let you know, it’s been my honour and pleasure to work with you these many years, hope you enjoy yourself.” Captain Albers replied, “Thank you so much for your comments, certainly enjoyed flying in and out of Toronto.”

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Captain Paul Albers poses for the camera onboard his last commerical flight before retirement. (Gaby Blanke)

When Captain Albers departed his aircraft for the last time he said almost all the passengers waited to see him off.

“The majority shook my hand, nothing but kind words, it was extremely emotional for me to hear the people that I’ve flown around the world appreciate what I’ve done.”

Albers has a strong love for flying and says looking towards retirement hasn’t been easy. “My emotions kicked in about a month ago,” he said.

“I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that one minute I’m flying a fantastic modern airplane to great places in the world and as of today I’m no longer an Air Canada captain.”

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Captain Paul Albers and his brother First Officer Andre Albers are seen here inside the cockpit of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. (Tim Fisher)

As he reflected on his long career, he says two highlights come to mind. “My upgrade to captain seat was certainly one of the big high points, most definitely.”

“To go from being a First Officer to being in command of an aircraft is quite a big step,” he added. “Second highlight would be, today, doing this flight, my last flight with my brother”

Albers says he is happy to be retiring but says “I’m also going to miss flying.” 

“It’s the greatest job in the world, greatest job in the world.”

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Captain Paul Albers and First Officer Andre Albers are seen here inside Toronto Pearson International Airport. (Gaby Blanke)