Thursday, December 28, 2017

Australia to give visas to foreign pilots to fix growing shortage

Foreign pilots will be allowed entry into Australia on two-year work visas to fix a growing national shortage that is seeing planes grounded and flights cancelled.

The move has been questioned by Qantas pilots who have raised doubt over the quality of pilots likely to be recruited in regional areas.

“The United States and China are paying huge money and that doesn’t leave much for the sort of wages they are paying in regional Australia,” Murray Butt, president of the Australian and 
International Pilots Association, which represents more than 2000 Qantas pilots, told News Corp.
“We need to look at the Chinese airlines buying up flight schools in Australia. That might fix their problem but it doesn’t fix ours.”

However, the peak body for regional airlines has claimed the move by the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was made after their own lobbying efforts.

Mike Higgins, CEO of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, told News Corp the government had advised that the decision would be confirmed in a revised skilled occupation list — replacing the former 457 visa regime — to be released next month.

He also said the association is talking with the Minister about extending the visa period to four years.
Qantas pilots are wanting a government white paper to address declining output of Australian flying skills, describing the move to bring in foreign pilots as a “very short-term fix”.

The lack of pilots is a result of poaching of major airline pilots by overseas airlines and increasing foreign ownership of pilot training skills.

The problem is already being felt with Qantas forced to cancel a number of its regional services.

Article taken from 9News 

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