NZALPA and Massey University’s pivotal study, “Pilot Progression in New Zealand” (see Uplink December 2018 issue) attracted considerable interest last month following its release.
Both New Zealand and international aviation media picked up the story, including NZALPA’s call for a ‘shake up’ in pilot training and progression planning if “New Zealand is going to meet burgeoning demand and continue the industry’s significant contribution to our economy.”
NZALPA has begun discussing the findings with airlines, Government ministers, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and wider industry stakeholders.
The study focused on New Zealanders, including permanent residents, who received their fixed wing New Zealand Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL) between 2000 and 2018. More than 700 pilots took part in the study, from New Zealand and overseas.
According to the report, many recent CPL graduates gave up flying because they couldn’t get the entry level positions needed to build up their flying hours to levels required for airline jobs (the goal of more than two thirds of those surveyed).
“The overall number of professional pilots in New Zealand is about the same as it was 20 years ago,” said NZALPA President, Tim Robinson. “This is despite more pilots being trained in response to industry demand.
“Local airlines say they have trouble recruiting enough qualified pilots; and the pilots say they can’t get the jobs they need to get the experience to apply for an airline position.
“What’s not working well is the bit in between - recent graduates cannot get the experience they need,” Robinson said.
Less than half of the survey respondents found work as a pilot within a year of qualifying; with slightly more saying they’d considered giving up their aviation career plans – which would leave them with a large debt and the industry with a loss of potential.
“Around a third of respondents went overseas to get work experience - and many don’t return,” said Robinson.
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