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Pilot Shortage in Asia?

Old 22nd Oct 2010, 23:31
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Pilot Shortage in Asia?

Indonesian Airlines Ready to Soar, Except for Lack of Pilots
Faisal Maliki Baskoro | October 22, 2010
A student at the Bali International Flight Academy receiving instructions at Lt. Col. Wisnu airfield in Buleleng. A global pilot shortage is hampering the growth plans of Indonesia’s carriers. (Antara Photo)


Jakarta. A global pilot shortage is hampering the growth plans of Indonesia’s major airlines, including flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, as the sector gears up to meet surging demand.

The pilot shortage, which is acute in Asia where growth is strong, is forcing domestic carriers to pay higher salaries and already leaving some new planes idle.

Garuda’s finance director, Elisa Lumbantoruan, said the airline was struggling to find enough pilots to fly new routes and to add flights to existing routes.

He said it needed to double the number of its pilots — from 600 to 1,200 — by 2014 to match the company’s planned expansion.

“This shortage of pilots has impacted our cost structure and expansion this year,” Elisa said.

“It’s hard for us to open new routes or fly more routes because we’re lacking pilots. It is unlikely for us to achieve our target this year.”

Stefanus Gerardus, chairman of the Garuda Indonesia Pilot Association, said the airline currently needed more than 200 pilots to fly the new planes being delivered this year.

“Garuda is bringing in 24 new airplanes this year, and most of them are just left in the hangar because there is a shortage of pilots to fly them,” he said.

The International Civil Aviation Organization has forecast that the world’s airlines will need to hire an average of about 50,000 new pilots a year through 2030 as carriers expand their routes, while the existing annual training capacity is only about 47,000, leaving carriers scrambling to compete to hire qualified, experienced pilots.

The shortage is worst in Asia, which has the fastest-growing aviation markets.

The region’s three biggest carriers — Cathay Pacific Airways, Qantas Airways, and Emirates Airline — are awaiting delivery of about 400 planes, according to Bloomberg.

Indonesia is also expected to see strong growth in the aviation sector, with the number of passengers forecast to rise from 45 million this year to 60 million in 2014.

In addition to Garuda’s expansion plans, Lion Air is planning to increase its fleet from 64 planes to 174 by 2014.

Sriwijaya Air earlier this month unveiled an ambitious plan to purchase 10 new Boeing 737s and 60 smaller aircraft to be delivered beginning in 2015.

Tengku Burhanuddin, secretary general of the Indonesia National Air Carriers Association (Inaca), said Indonesia needed about 2,000 additional pilots by 2014, when the Asean open-skies policy takes effect.

“Procuring pilots can’t be done overnight. It takes time and money to produce a good, experienced pilot to replace retired pilots, let alone to match the growth of the aviation sector,” he said.

Aviation sector analyst Dudi Sudibyo said domestic airlines were now more diligent in ensuring their pilots were not overworked. “Pilots were overworked but this is a thing of the past,” he said.

“Airlines are more careful with their pilots’ flying hours because a single accident can send the whole company into bankruptcy.”

Bambang Ervan, spokesman of the Transportation Ministry, said pilots were only allowed to fly up to nine hours per day, or 21 hours per week and 50 hours a month.

He said the ministry conducted routine checks of pilots’ logbooks every six months.

So far this year, he added, the ministry had yet to receive a single report on an airline overworking its pilots.

“Any violations will result in sanctions, starting from a warning up to revoking licenses for the pilot and/or the airline,” he said.

Dudi said local airlines were now forced to compete for pilots with international carriers that lured Indonesian pilots away with higher salaries — often double what domestic carriers can pay.

This, in turn, forces domestic carriers to hire foreign pilots and local pilots at higher salaries.

“The problem is there’s a salary war in the sector,” he said. “Most of our pilots are flocking to foreign airline companies, lured by more lucrative salaries and incentives.”

This is good news for Nico Irawan, a new co-pilot at Sriwijaya Air, who said it was easy to find a job.

“I got the job just days after I got my license to fly,” said Nico, who completed 180 flight hours for a license from the Australia National Airline College.





Ka.Boom is offline  
Old 23rd Oct 2010, 00:03
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Two items for the Indons to address. 1. Pay and conditions - enter the real world, please. 2. Validation of foreign licences - expedite, don't obstruct.
Make these palatable and they will get plenty of pilots. It is a pleasant enough place, and the ordinary people in the street are generally OK, so why not?
Mach E Avelli is offline  
Old 23rd Oct 2010, 00:40
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Too right, Mach!
Most Crewing companies have ads for all crew and types for Garuda right now.

This got my attention too:
Aviation sector analyst Dudi Sudibyo said domestic airlines were now more diligent in ensuring their pilots were not overworked. “Pilots were overworked but this is a thing of the past,” he said. (not around here it 'aint!)

“Airlines are more careful with their pilots’ flying hours because a single accident can send the whole company into bankruptcy.” ()

Bambang Ervan, spokesman of the Transportation Ministry, said pilots were only allowed to fly up to nine hours per day, or 21 hours per week and 50 hours a month.


Would love those flight & duty limitation
Chocks Away is offline  
Old 23rd Oct 2010, 05:46
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I've been in Indonesia for about 4 months and can confirm the pilot shortage is real. The airline I'm with has just recruited about 30 low time pilots from overseas (many Aussies); local pilots are being hired with just a bare CPL / single engine IR; some locals are even being sponsored by the airline to get their IR.

The pay is low by Aussie airline standards but we do get generous allowances and flight pay, decent hotels when overnighting and transport to and from the airport provided for. Cost of living is very cheap in Indonesia and I can live quite comfortably with savings in the bank at the end of the month.

I'm halfway through a type endorsement on a 60 seat turbo-prop which the company pays for, although we're bonded for a couple of years. The standard of training has also been very good.

Just my 2 rupiah's worth.

As for the license conversion, I now have my full Indonesian CPL / IR and a few more foreign pilots will have their's very soon as well.

Last edited by training wheels; 23rd Oct 2010 at 12:50. Reason: Grammar
training wheels is offline  
Old 23rd Oct 2010, 11:02
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Join Date: Sep 2009
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Quite a few guys interested in DEC positions except:

1) Duration of contract too short.
2) Company must pay for type rating.

Would be interested if The Price Is Right!
Anthill is offline  

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