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Skies open wide for pilots from abroad
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-28 05:51

Foreign pilots are to be drafted into Chinese airlines to relieve the shortage of qualified flyers plaguing the world's fastest-growing aviation sector.

Air Force women cadets receive training at a military university in Changchun in this file photo taken taken in March of 2005. [newsphoto/file]
The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) has drawn up a soon-to-be-launched policy of recruiting pilots from abroad, an administration official told China Daily yesterday.

"Overseas pilots will be able to be employed by Chinese carriers after obtaining flight licences in China," said Rao Shaowu, director of the CAAC's Flight Standard Department.

To do that, they must pass strict exams, Rao added.

China's booming commercial aviation industry is taking off faster than the country can train pilots, a trend threatening future growth and hard-won advances in air safety.

About 11,000 pilots are employed to fly more than 770 aircraft operated by the major Chinese commercial airlines, according to CAAC statistics - a figure industry experts say is inadequate to cope with rocketing demand for passenger services.

And demand for pilots is likely to increase as domestic carriers expand their fleets.
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