Thursday, July 25, 2013

Air NZ under fire over bid for foreign pilots

Air New Zealand has applied to the Government for permission to hire overseas pilots because it says there is a pilot shortage here.

However, the application before Immigration New Zealand has outraged many local pilots who argue the move is not necessary.

Pilots have told ONE News the industry is very hard to break into at the moment and many students are already going to Australia.

The national carrier says it cannot find enough pilots but Ardmore Flying School, which produces around 70 qualified commercial pilots each year, says there is a responsibility to support those homegrown students.

Air NZ said it has applied to have pilots added to the Immigration Department's skills shortage list to ensure they have sufficient numbers to meet the needs in the medium to long term.

It says it is a precautionary measure and it also has various other pilot recruitment initiatives.
Air New Zealand requires pilots have a minimum of 500 flying hours, including 25 hours of night flying, and says there are not enough with the necessary experience here.

Unions are making submissions about the proposal, claiming there are enough qualified pilots in New Zealand and there is no need to source them from overseas.
The Aviation Association says the number of pilots available will reduce with the Government clamping down on student loans for pilots, meaning they will need to come up with around $100,000 for a career in aviation.

In a statement, Air New Zealand said: "Any changes to immigration policy relating to the pilot profession would not disadvantage any sufficiently qualified and capable New Zealand pilot."

Article taken from TVnz

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