Jobless, young pilots encouraged to apply for chopper license

Published by Afterschool.my on Oct 29, 2012, 01:31 pm

  • 1,174 junior pilots are still unemployed due to the lack of will to work from the bottom up
  • Only 1 out of 10 pilots is willing to rough it out and willing to work as flight instructors or fly smaller aircraft to clock in the necessary hours
  • Malaysia has 5 flying schools that churn out about 300 graduates annually
  • If you think that becoming a pilot could turn into a lucrative career, think again. Every year, about 300 junior pilots are being produced in the country's five flying schools. And most of them are still unemployed.
  • A pilot is said to earn between RM7,000 and RM10,000 a month but in reality, the rookies have to start at the bottom of the pile, with a pay of about RM4,000.
  • These junior pilots graduate with 200 hours under their belt, allow then to only fly small aircrafts below 5,700kg. They are not qualified to fly airlines unless they complete the 1,500 flight hours and further intensive type training and stringent tests. Its only when these requirements are duly complied can they receive the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL).
  • Boeing, a worlwide maker of airplanes, recently reported high spending on commercial planes coming from Asian regions. Indonesia's aviation industry is picking up and is hiring Malaysian pilots who are willing to convert their license (license conversion costs around RM100,000).
  • Most airline companies are hiring foreign captains, sometimes a necessity until the qualified Malaysian first officers are promoted. According to Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), these airline companies buy new aircraft and want ready-made captains and if they don't have them locally, they will have to get foreigners.
  • AirAsia has 700 pilots at the moment excluding AirAsia X. A small percentage is made up of foreigners.
  • With the glut of young pilots, government is urging junior pilots to consider "non-glamour" jobs here and abroad. Such jobs include flying smaller aircrafts such as helicopters. For a junior pilot, to acquire a helicopter license will demand another eight months and roughly RM200,000 to RM250,000. From scratch, a helicopter license would take 20 months and RM500,000 to complete the course.
  • Helicopter pilots can opt for careers with the police, armed forces, fire department, aerial surveillance and search and rescue operations.
  • Aside from encouring young pilots to shift career paths, DCA is freezing all new applications for flying schools while the current schools need to get the department's approval on student intake.
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