Airline pilots without solo flying experience a reality as Boeing Alteon's first multi-crew pilot licence course launches in Australia

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Boeing subsidiary Alteon Training has begun its Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL) programme in Australia with a batch of six cadets, who are on course to be the first in the world to receive a pilot's licence without the requirement to have ever flown solo.

Two Chinese carriers put the six forward for the course, which commenced two weeks ago with basic training in Australia’s northern state of Queensland, Alteon director of marketing Roei Ganzarski told Flight on the sidelines of an event in Singapore to promote the company’s new centre in Singapore, which primarily offers simulator training.

Queensland’s Griffith University is helping the cadets learn English and the cadets are also studying at Queensland’s Airline Academy Australia flight school, says Ganzarski.

He says at the end of February or in March the basic training will end and six other cadets will join, bringing the group to 12.

The next stages include having the cadets operate small propeller aircraft although unlike ab initio training there will be no private pilot’s licences issued because these studies are focused on ensuring the cadets are qualified to operate commercial aircraft.

Later stages of the course will involve Boeing 737 simulator training at Alteon Training’s centre in the Queensland capital Brisbane.

It will take the students 15-18 month to complete all stages of the course, according to Ganzarski, who confirms they will be the first in the world to receive a MPL.

The fact the first 12 cadets will be from China means the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) is involved and will be recognising their MPL, he adds.

Australia was chosen as the location for the first MPL course because, unlike many other countries in the region, it has an abundance of flying schools and other infrastructure in place to support pilot training.

China is just one of many countries in the region that is suffering from a shortage of airline pilots and it has too few flying schools to immediately increase the supply of newly trained pilots.

The MPL has been approved by ICAO as a way of more efficiently training pilots to become qualified airline first officers in a multi-crew environment, but does not permit them to captain an aircraft or fly alone.

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