Friday, August 24, 2012

Garuda Looks Overseas for Pilots as Jet Buys Boost Need for More Talent

Abandoning its earlier stance, Garuda Indonesia is turning to foreign talent to fly its jets as part of efforts to expand its global reach, an official said on Wednesday.

Pujobroto, a Garuda spokesman, said that as the airline wanted to add more jets to serve its regional and international routes, it needed more pilots to fly its planes.

“In line with our plans to expand our fleet to 194 planes from 94 planes currently, Garuda is recruiting pilots from several flying schools or those who already applied to work with us,” he told the Jakarta Globe.
Pujobroto’s comments came in response to a report that Britair, a French regional airline, was asking some of its pilots to work with Garuda. The spokesman said that former pilots at Britair could apply for a pilot’s post at Garuda Indonesia.

“Those [former Britair] pilots can work with Garuda as long as they meet our standards,” Pujobroto said, while adding that Garuda adhered to the standard of Operational Safety Audit of the International Air Transport Association.

Air France-KLM Group, Europe’s biggest carrier, has asked pilots at its Britair unit whether they would be willing to be based in Indonesia, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

“We are consulting pilots to see if they are interested before possibly looking into missions with Garuda,” a spokeswoman said. “We are still at the project stage.”

Garuda, which is set to take delivery of 100-seat CRJ1000 regional aircraft built by the Canadian company Bombardier, requires trained pilots and has spoken with carriers who might be able to help.

Britair, owned by the Air France-KLM group, is one such airline. Its parent group has launched a restructuring program and seeks to eliminate 5,000 positions, including 450 pilot jobs.

Garuda and other airline operators including Indonesia AirAsia, the local unit of the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, have been expanding in Indonesia and Southeast Asia to capitalize on rising travel demand by consumers in the region.

Garuda’s move comes less than a year after announcing that it would no longer hire foreign pilots. A strike by 650 local Garuda pilots that July led the state-run airline to bring foreign pilots’ benefits more in line with their local counterparts.

“A meeting between the company’s management and the Garuda Pilot Association concluded three things, among them that the company agreed not to employ foreign pilots anymore. The company will not extend contract of foreign pilots,” Elisa Lumbantoruan, Garuda’s finance director, said late last October.

At the time, foreign pilots earned $7,200 a month, including housing benefits, compared to $5,000 for Indonesians.

Article taken from JakartaGlobe

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