BATU PAHAT: Foreign airlines have started courting pilots from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) following reports that the national carrier will undergo a restructuring exercise.
MAS head, flight operations, Captain Kamarudin Kamilin said among the airlines included Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline, Sri Lankan Airlines, Korean Air and Lion Air.
He said there were also countless airlines based in China and Taiwan which had shown strong interest to hire MAS pilots.
“Even without the restructuring plan in the pipeline, our experienced pilots have been sought after by many foreign airlines for years,’’ Kamarudin told StarBiz on the sidelines of the signing of a memorandum of understanding between MAS and Universiti Tun Hussien Onn Malaysia (UTHM) at its main campus.
Signing on behalf of MAS was its operations director Captain Izham Ismail while UTHM was represented by its vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin.
Kamarudin said most of the MAS pilots hired by foreign airlines were those who had been working for at least eight years and already clocked more than 2,000 flying hours.
“We can’t stop them (our pilots) from working with other airlines as there are several reasons that prompt them to leave MAS,’’ he said.
Kamarudin said one of the main reasons was that they got better offers in terms of salary and other perks and also they wanted to experience working in a new environment or in a new country.
He said there were now 1,466 pilots working with MAS and added that the airline needed at least 500 new pilots.
Asked whether the restructuring plans to be announced probably July next year would see some existing pilots axed, Kamarudin said it depended on the business structure of the new company.
Kamarudin said MAS observed the highest safety standards in its operations including ensuring its pilots were well-trained and did not fly beyond the permissible yearly flight hours.
He said on the average MAS trained 100 new pilots yearly and spend about RM150,000 each to train them for about eight months flying the Boeing 737-800.
“Business is as usual for us despite the two tragedies (MH370 and MH17) and the restructuring exercise, as we still have to fly our planes and we are confident that MAS will soar again in the future,’’ said Kamarudin.
Article taken from TheStar
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