The Chinese government is reducing the number of approved international flight training organisations (FTO) at the same time that the country's demand for pilots would stretch the world's current flight schools.
Latest projections suggest that a minimum of 50,000 additional pilots will be needed over the next eight years just to meet the requirements of current Chinese orders - and that doesn't take account requirements for business aviation and the entry of new airlines through the region.
"There is a real challenge for the industry," says Capt Lee Woodward, executive director of CTC Wings. "Training organisations are waiting to hear who is on the list. CTC is already working with China's CAAC and they are aware that we are keen to establish an operation within China as well as support their airlines through our existing schools."
CTC operates in the UK and New Zealand and provides JAA approved ab initio and type rating training.
"There is great demand but the real challenge will be finding the right people," says Woodward. "At the APATS conference here one speaker had worked out that it would need every FTO in the world to take 300 cadets a year each in order to meet just China's requirements."
CTC's ab-initio programmes are entirely customer focused and work in the region with airlines such as Jetstar and Jetstar Asia, Royal Brunei and others in Vietnam and Japan. The company has developed a selection screening system that has seen its "failure" rate drop to 1.7% from an industry norm of 5%. "We now offer a failure protection guarantee to airlines where we are involved in the selection," Woodward said.