CAE expands into digital flight crew management with Merlot Aero acquisition

CAE recently acquired a leading civil aviation crew management and optimization software company, Merlot Aero for $25 million. This acquisition not only marks CAE’s expansion into digital flight crew management but also represents an important milestone to unify the digital flight operations ecosystem. This will allow CAE to provide an end-to-end offering of digitally-enabled crew performance software and expertise that extends from training through optimized crew operations and is unrivalled in the industry.

“This acquisition further expands our reach beyond pilot training and into the rapidly growing market for digitally-enabled crew optimization services. As we demonstrated with our acquisitions of FSC, TRU Canada, and now Merlot, we are focused on deploying the capital we recently raised to strengthen our position and expand our suite of solutions for our aviation customers,” said Marc Parent, CAE President and CEO. “We are thrilled to integrate Merlot’s capabilities and expertise in crew optimization technology to serve global operators as they look for flight operations efficiencies.”

Over the past two years, CAE has been steadily unifying the digital flight operations ecosystem with the goal of delivering a holistic suite of solutions designed to improve operations and enhance the crew experience. The vision began in 2018 with the acquisition of Pelesys, an aviation training courseware developer and publisher, with one of the most comprehensive training and compliance systems in the industry, and was expanded with the launch of CAE RiseTM, the Company’s predictive management and training visibility system.

In 2018, CAE announced a commitment to invest C$1 billion in digital transformation over 5 years and in 2019 launched a new Flight Services organization to facilitate the Company’s expansion into crew management to support the growth of the Company’s core pilot training market, while expanding into an attractive new adjacency.

The unprecedented disruption caused by COVID has only accelerated customer demand for these services and the acquisition of Merlot marks another milestone in CAE’s journey to pioneer the development of a digital flight operations ecosystem.