Experienced pilots missing as airlines grow

Fast-growing carriers in Asia and Middle East can’t find staff

Fast-growing airlines in Asia and the Middle East are placing orders for huge numbers of new aircraft – leading to an acute and alarming shortage of skilled and experienced pilots in the region. As emerging low-cost carriers fill planes with the new middle classes, safety-conscious fliers may be advised to stay with well-known international airlines that can afford to keep the best staff.
The pilot shortage in Asia is nothing new, but the most recent aircraft orders – as well as the industry’s forecast growth in the region in the coming years – add more urgency. Most recently, Indonesia’s Lion Air ordered 230 Boeing 737s with options for 150 more.
“Where are the pilots coming from?” asked Shukor Yusof, an analyst with Standard & Poor’s. “The shortage is going to manifest itself certainly as we go into next year because there’ll be a lot of planes coming in then.”
[pictured: Flight deck of Vickers VC10 aircraft]