Airline makes pilots pay own way

By Zhan Lisheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-31 06:52

GUANGZHOU: China Southern Airlines, one of the top three airline companies in China, has vacancies for 100 people who want to be pilots.

Unlike any other previous recruitment drive, the would-be pilots will have to pay for a two-year training program at the Sichuan-based China Civil Aviation Flight University.

China Southern is the first airline to recruit pilots in this way. Until now, all pilots have been trained at public's expense, and generally have to stay with one airline until retirement.

According to Wang Renjie, deputy general manager of China Southern, the would-be pilots will spend six months learning flight theory and another 18 months on flight drills.

Each will have to pay about 720,000 yuan ($93,500) for the program.

He said the pilots will continue with their studies after they are licensed, and will be entitled to the same payment and welfare benefits as existing pilots.

"They will sign a 15-year contract with us. After that, they can choose to continue their careers at China Southern or go to work for other airlines," he said.

Wang said China Southern will continue to recruit such pilots in the years to come.

Peng Peng, a researcher at the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said that China Southern's move will reform the country's pilot training system, and is a step forward in integrating with the international practice.

"Training a pilot generally costs millions of yuan, thus no airline company is willing to allow its pilots to work for other airlines," Peng said.

(China Daily 05/31/2007 page5)

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