Air China is seeking to recruit its first batch of foreign pilots ahead of the forthcoming delivery of additional Airbus A319s.

New Zealand-based Rishworth Aviation says it has been hired to contract as soon as possible an undisclosed number of A320-rated captains. These will be Air China's first foreign pilots, signalling what many believe is a looming pilot shortage across China.

At the end of 2001, Hainan Airlines became the first Chinese carrier to hire foreign pilots and industry sources say Shenzhen Airlines began hiring expatriate pilots last year.

Source: Flight International