Qatar spreads its wings in search for future pilots
Pilot shortage is one of the biggest threats to the air transport industry and particularly the Gulf airlines, which have massive expansion plans. Alan Peaford looks at how Qatar Airways has chosen a UK-based training company to help it meet the challenge.
Qatar Airways is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines and feeding the demand for growth has brought about its own special challenges to find enough pilots of the right calibre to support the airline’s rapid expansion plans.
The Doha-headquartered airline has gone to the UK and selected airline training specialist CTC Aviation to help it supply those vital human resources to see it through the predicted boom.
Currently operating 108 aircraft, the airline has orders worth more than US$50 billion for Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and the A320 family of aircraft. As a result, Qatar Airways has significant pilot recruitment campaigns taking place around the world.
Like other Gulf carriers, today’s pilots are as likely to have come from Buenos Aries as Brisbane. But as well as the experienced captains from other airlines, and local talent coming through the ab-initio route, Qatar has identified a need for something in between and has called for a supply of graduate pilots from CTC’s world renowned CTC Wings programme, which the airline said will form a key part of the intake in future years.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “As an airline growing at a tremendous rate and with orders for more than 250 aircraft due for delivery over the next few years, we will require a large number of pilots to join the organisation.
“CTC is a key partner for Qatar Airways to deliver the pool of professional pilots that we need to meet our operational requirements.”
Lee Woodward, director of business development for CTC Aviation said: “We are delighted to now be able to count Qatar Airways among our list of CTC Wings partner airlines. This is a great opportunity for our graduate pilots to forge a strong future career with an airline that maintains high standards of safety and customer service and in a region that is promising some significant growth in the coming years.
“This contract has been tailored to provide a mutually beneficial package for both the airline and the CTC Wings pilots. Qatar Airways has demonstrated its willingness to support its future cadet pilot intake and we are very pleased to have been chosen to work alongside another forward thinking airline, committed to investing in future pilot supply.”
The first 18 CTC pilots selected by the airline completed their A320 type rating training at CTC’s United Kingdom airline training centre during April and May and are now ready to start line operations with Qatar flying out of Doha.
One CTC Wings graduate pilot is Laura Elliott, who has joined Qatar Airways as a first officer after completing her type rating training in May. She said: “I wanted to train with CTC for an opportunity exactly like this; to join the world’s best airline.
“The prospects within Qatar Airways for career development are second to none. To be given this chance at such an early stage in my career is precisely what I’ve been working so hard for throughout my training. I am very grateful that CTC has forged this new partnership with Qatar Airways, allowing me and my fellow cadets to further realise our potential.”
As part of CTC’s philosophy to work in partnership with its client airlines, a CTC type rating examiner has been working alongside the Qatar Airways team in Doha to ensure that the training for the new pilot intake is accurately tailored to incorporate the company’s standard operating procedures and culture.
“As an airline training provider, we believe this is just one of the factors that sets us apart from our competitors,” said Captain Woodward.
CTC Aviation has centres in the United Kingdom and New Zealand and trains around 2,000 ab-initio and experienced pilots each year for approximately 50 airline clients around the world.