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MEBA2012: Addressing the problems of pilot recruitment

Posted 11 December 2012 · Add Comment

What are the issues prohibiting optimal progression of the Middle East business aviation market? That was the title of an open forum at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference.

Josh StewartAdel Mardini, chief executive of Jetex, Josh Stewart (pictured), president of Xjet World and Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, chief executive of London Executive Aviation, all contributed.

The group looked at international charters and developing FBOs in the region, but a big concern was the problem of recruitment and pilot shortages.
Stewart said that a number of factors, including the FAA increasing the time requirement for first officers, decreasing retirement ages, plus fewer military-trained pilots, were all contributing to a global problem.
He said that the industry would soon need an additional 500,000 pilots worldwide, with around 45-85,000 in the MENA region alone.
As an industry we need to be more proactive and less reactive in terms of recruitment,” he said.
We also need to change the mindset of young people of school age, to sell them the idea of being a business aviation pilot.”
But if airlines can suck up every pilot available, will there always be a shortage?
Stewart said: “Airlines aren’t always the best environment to learn to fly. The one thing I have found is that business pilots need to be a different animal to commercial pilots.”
Margetson-Rushmore said that, in his experience, the pilots who last in business aviation have started on smaller aircraft and progressed up, rather than coming from airlines.
But is the type of training also causing problems? Is computer-based training wrong and do we need more ‘stick and throttle’ type training.
I think pilots need to get more real-time experience. We are losing those abilities to fly an aircraft in difficult conditions,” said Stewart.
Otherwise you end up with pilots who have lots of experience flying in beautiful blue skies in Arizona, but possibly having difficulties landing in a snowstorm in Moscow.”
Margetson-Rushmore added:We also need to get more involved with local universities and schools to encourage future pilots to focus specifically on business aviation.”
Resources were needed so that MEBAA could go out and learn from other countries’ experience of how they were tackling their recruitment crisis.


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