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November 29, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Airlines' pilot search takes off

CHINESE civil airlines have begun massively recruiting and training pilots among university graduates in the wake of pilot shortages that have hindered the development of the country's airlines.

Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines yesterday launched a campus recruitment campaign at Shanghai Jiao Tong University to recruit more than 100 pilots from graduates from local universities. "The graduates will become the reserve forces for the airline's pilot team with an increasing number of passenger planes," said a human resources official of China Eastern surnamed Ding.

Domestic civil airlines usually recruit pilots from the seven professional flight academies across the country, including the Civil Aviation Flight University of China, the country's major training facility in Sichuan Province that provides 90 percent of civil airline pilots.

But the rapid increase in passenger planes in China has created a demand for pilots far beyond what the academies can supply.

China Eastern said it will continue recruiting from universities across China for high-quality talent - those with good learning and English abilities as well as logical thinking to become pilots after training, Ding said. China Eastern plans to recruit 500 pilots, with half of them coming from the universities, he said.

Meanwhile, Air China recruited 64 candidates from more than 100 graduates from 13 Chinese universities early this month. They were selected on the basis of healthy body, strong will, stable emotion and quick mental and physical responses, but they still had to pass examinations in spoken English and psychological evaluation, according to the airline.

Analysts say that China's domestic airlines will require about 3,000 new pilots every year, while training schools in the country can supply only 2,000 annually. Domestic airlines are expected to take delivery of 4,700 more passenger planes in the next 20 years.

The pilot shortage grew more acute when the Chinese civil aviation authority tightened recruitment of foreign pilots after a South Korean pilot refused to give way to a jet running low on fuel over Shanghai in August.

The East China Regional Administration under the Civil Aviation Administration of China has said foreign pilots with local airlines should have their qualifications and regulatory knowledge checked. It also checks pilot training and management of the airlines as well as the professional ethics of foreign pilots.

Six Shanghai-based airlines, including China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Juneyao and Spring Airlines, employ 219 foreign pilots.

Zhang Wu'an, a spokesman for Spring Airlines, said his firm has decided to build the nation's first training center by a private airline to train pilots themselves.

The center, to be located near Pudong International Airport, will be put into use in 2013, the spokesman said.


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