Lufthansa is recruiting 60 trainee pilots graduating from the KLM Flight Academy in the Netherlands, following the Dutch flag carrier's decision to cut unprofitable routes and remove aircraft from its fleet in an effort to restore profitability.

Industry sources say that KLM will also offer to second to Lufthansa a group of experienced line pilots on short-term contracts, although the Netherlands airline declines to comment on this.

A batch of 25 Dutch pilots has already been employed by Lufthansa after completing training at the KLM school, and the German airline confirms it is offering contracts to a further 35. The pilots are self-sponsored, but would have been guaranteed positions with KLM had vacancies existed. Another 10 have joined Alitalia, while eight have been taken on by Austrian Airlines.

KLM is cutting unprofitable routes and phasing out seven aircraft, wiping out planned capacity growth of 3-4% for this summer. A further capacity cut of 5% is likely by the end of this year, leaving it with spare manpower.

In contrast to KLM, Lufthansa needs to recruit at least 250 pilots this year and is struggling to fill the vacancies. The German carrier aimed to recruit 240 new pilots last year, but found only 187 suitable candidates.

Source: Flight International