Malaysia Airlines Bhd needs an additional 150 pilots to stabilise its systems from the current 927 pilots operating its fleet.
Chief Executive Officer Captain Izham Ismail said the national carrier is targeting to normalise its operations by early 2019 and has already recruited 62 new pilots.
“But retirement, attrition, pilots finding better opportunities, all of these continue, hence, (MAB) requires replacements and recruitment of new pilots, “ he told reporters on the sidelines of the MAB cabin crew graduation ceremony here Friday.
In fact, the national carrier, which is still going through an organisational turnaround, and driving very high available seat per kilometres, has already been hit by a shortage of pilots in mid-second quarter of this year, he said.
Izham said for the next 10 years, the industry requires a very huge influx of pilots, estimated at 255,000 in Asia Pacific from now until 2035.
He said the industry needed to be vigilant of the number of pilots required to keep in steps with aviation growth in Asia Pacific, with 40 per cent of aeroplanes produced expected to be delivered to the region.
Airline bosses need to be 10 years ahead or else they will be caught with pilot shortages, he said.
Besides MAB, other global airlines such as Qantas, Qatar, Cathay Pacific are also facing pilot shortages, he said, adding that Delta Airlines recently announced that it needed 8,000 new pilots.
He said for the last three weeks, MAB had put about 250 pilots through various phases of training, and they included new joiners who underwent conversion trainings, and cadets who were sent to flying schools.
MAB on Friday celebrated the graduation of 111 cabin crew and pilots at a ceremony at the MAB Academy in Kelana Jaya.
All graduates had undergone intensive training in their respective fields, including 91 cabin crews who undertook 82 days of service and safety training, while 20 cadet pilots completed 300 days of various training programmes and examinations to earn their licence.
Among them were MAB’s first female pilots, namely Captain Pearl Wendy Mak, Second Officer Wen Chien Wang and Cadet Foo Hooi Wen.
“I am very proud that for the first time in Malaysia Airlines, we have three amazing, strong and resilient women graduating as pilots. It is my hope that in future the airline would include more female captains flying our aircraft and making the country proud,” he added. – Bernama