Shanghai Airlines has recruited eight veteran foreign pilots to ease the shortage of pilots for its cargo fleet.
The pilots, very experienced and with top-grade skills, are from countries as diverse as the US, Norway, Venezuela and the Philippines. They are currently operating the MD-11 cargo aircraft added to the fleet last year.
The domestic aviation market has suffered from a shortage of pilots. In recent years, Shanghai Airlines has seen an average annual 30-percent growth in its fleet by purchasing nine new aircraft in 2004 and seven more last year.
It usually takes at least eight to ten years and millions of yuan to train a fully-qualified pilot, so the hiring of foreign pilots can save much time and money, said an industry analyst.
Domestic airlines currently have a total of almost 11,000 pilots, enough to operate around 800 aircraft. During the 11th Five Year Plan, the Chinese civil aviation market will see the addition of more than 100 aircraft each year and the total number of civil aircraft will reach 1,250 by 2010, causing a shortfall of over 6,000 pilots in the coming five to six years, the analyst said.
(Shanghai Daily March 9, 2006)