Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

We must take action for pilots to ensure a bright aviation future


Aviation New Zealand is delighted to be involved in the 2017 NZALPA Conference as our organisations endeavour to work closer together, particularly given the rapidly changing and challenging international environment we operate within. 

Established in 1950, Aviation New Zealand has a long history of working in the ever-changing technology and regulatory environments. A major role has been to encourage the safe growth of the aviation industry in New Zealand and, in more recent years, we’ve also become involved in helping both the local and international development of our 360 members and over 1500 industry contacts on our database. 

Change and innovation is a hallmark of many of our members, which includes agribusiness companies, air operators (fixed-wing and rotary), aircraft designers and manufacturers, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry, airports, air lines, aviation trainers, emergency and medical services organisations, helicopter companies, and parts manufacturers.

Recently we reviewed some of the international aviation forecasts and understood, along with NZALPA, that it was time not just to talk louder but to start taking action on the increasing challenges, both domestically and globally, in regard to pilot supply. Some of the more sobering figures included: 

  • Asia/Pacific is predicted to need between 232,000 and 248,000 new pilots, and between 217,700 and 268,000 new engineers in commercial aviation in the next 20 years, according to Boeing and Airbus
  • Boeing predicts China will need 6810 new aircraft in the next 20 years
  • Boeing’s 2016 market outlook estimates 15,130 new aircraft will go into Asia/Pacific in the next 20 years, Airbus puts it at 13,460
  • China needs 2800-3000 new pilots per year, but trains fewer than half that number.

As is discussed further in this issue, one of the initiatives that Aviation New Zealand  is focused on is facilitating closer relationships between employers of low-hour pilots and the training schools to ensure that the cadets are getting the right training experience and are more ‘employment ready’ when they finish training. This makes them more employable and puts them on the ladder to long-term success.

We’re also concerned about raising the quality and retention of the flight instructor talent pool.   Along with trained pilots, we know that it is this group that is often targeted by the airlines.  We’ve recently benefited from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) changes in training and the fact that many also comply with internationally recognised qualifications that make our training even more desirable to others around the globe. 

As an industry, we can’t expect the Government to provide all the answers, but it can help in areas such as tuition fees and study loan facilities for the entirety of the training period. What we don’t require is for the Government to add the profession to any immigration shortage lists. 

This is because there is, right here in New Zealand’s own aviation industry, so much we can do if we work together and harness our common interests and passion to take advantage of the opportunities such rapid change can present.    

If anyone can do it, New Zealand can. 

Our country was the first international customer for Boeing; opened the first pilot training school in 1915; sent the first airmail in 1919; and was one of the first to realise the suitability of aviation for agriculture, tourism and forestry.

We also have one of the highest aircraft per capita ratios in the world at 4639 (at last count) – this is one for every 1000 New Zealanders. 

We’ve also documented what some international customers have said about New Zealand’s aviation industry: 

Practical – we develop solutions that work

Innovative – we engage with our customers and specialise in smaller production runs

Professional – we have real expertise and deliver value to specification.

Together, if we get things right, our aviation industry has a very bright future.

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