The British Airline Pilots Association’s tenth Employment Opportunities Conference reported an expected surge in flightcrew recruitment over the next 12 months

Leading airlines have been explaining why the next 12 months could be a bonanza for pilots seeking new jobs or to develop their careers.

Representatives of 30 airlines, including British Airways, China Airlines and Emirates, said at the recent British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) tenth Employment Opportunities Con­ference that they will increase recruitment next year as they expand fleets and route networks.

However, Capt Nick Hayter of Channel Express said the airline was concerned about a shortage of captains in the airline industry.

Most carriers indicated they had openings for first officers meeting minimum training requirements, while prominent airlines generally preferred type-rated pilots with 4,000h flying experience.

Senior first officer John Monks of British Airways said the airline, which has worldwide networks to 233 destinations, is looking to recruit 300 pilots by March. The airline will hire a futher 80 pilots between April and October 2006, targeting type-rated pilots first.

Inexperienced pilots with low hours could join BA through its Self Sponsored Pilot (SSP) scheme available to graduates of full-time integrated courses, who are recommended by qualifying Flight Training Organisations (FTO).

Monks said pilots not qualifying for the SSP scheme could build experience of at least 500h on a multi-crew turboprop aircraft and apply through the direct entry pilot scheme.

Taiwan’s flag-carrier China Airlines, which operates a large fleet of Airbus and Boeing widebodies, is currently looking for first officers. The airline prefers type-rated pilots but will consider non-type-rated applicants with a minimum of 1,500 flying hours.

EasyJet, meanwhile, needs more captains. James Miller, crew recruitment manager, says the airline would hire an additional 200 pilots next year, and first officers, senior first officers and captains.

“The airline runs two cadet schemes for pilots with low hours, including the Type Rating Sponsorship Scheme, which currently has positions available for non-type rated pilots. Apart from pilots already type-rated on the airline’s Airbus and Boeing aircraft, EasyJet favours pilots with experience in a commercial multi-crew environment,” he says.

Emirates requires first officers to have at least 4,000 flying hours, of which 2,000h should be in multi-engine, multi-crew jets. Excel Airways offers co-pilot opportunities to non-type-rated pilots with 1,000 flying hours.

Airlines considering military flying experience include First Choice Airways. It accepts pilots with seven years’ military flying and 500h jet or 1,000h turboprop experience.

Capt Mervyn Granshaw, BALPA chairman, says that as the industry continues to grow, the association expects pilot supply to become an issue. “BALPA is looking at pilot training and career progression at the moment,” he says.


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Source: Flight International