[photopress:air_simulator_787.jpg,full,alignright]A pilot shortage is affecting China’s aviation industry, leaving hundreds of new Boeing and Airbus jetliners on order without pilots to fly them.
China will need an average of 2,500 pilots each year for the next two twenty years and it is nowhere near set up to meet the demand.
So foreign pilots are taking command of some Chinese airliners. Aviation Minister Yang Yuanyuan recently declared that the industry is growing ‘too fast.’ He’s cut back daily flights, slowed the launches of start-up airlines and warned that safety must prevail over growth.
China isn’t the only country with a pilot shortage. It is a worldwide problem.
William R. Voss, chief executive of the Flight Safety Foundation said, ‘It’s something that is sneaking up on the industry overall because there have always been pilots in the wings.’
Chinese aviation regulators say the nation will need an additional 9,000 or more pilots by 2010, as national airlines add jetliners at the rate of up to 150 a year.
Gao Hongfeng, the deputy head of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China said, ‘But speaking truthfully, we only have the capacity to train about 7,000, leaving us short 2,000 pilots. The shortage of pilots has become an important factor constraining civil aviation’s development.’
Pierre Steffen, vice president of customer services for Airbus China said, ‘We’ve had two occasions with two Chinese airlines where sales deals were accompanied by requests for foreign pilots.
China’s Big Three airlines – Air China, China Eastern and China Southern – are working hard to deal with the pilot shortage.
Air China has reserved land to build a training center in Beijing that’s likely to be the biggest in the world, with 30 full flight simulators. That is one in our illustration.
Nearly 20 start-up airlines wait for approval to operate, and a green light may not come soon. One reason: The start-ups don’t have pilots. Pierre Steffen said, ‘Where do they get their pilots? They can only get them from existing local airlines.’
Source: Kansas City.com