According to Liu Shen, a senior official at the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the number of pilots required increases every month, a fact he attributes to "fleet and network expansion, and retirement of senior pilots who have reached the age of 60."
Early last year, a study concluded that over the next five years the carriers would require an estimated 2,800 to 3,000 pilots per year, but those numbers turned out to be significantly underestimated.
The 12 flying schools across China with expanded training facilities are now turning out an average of only 1,500 to 1,650 new pilots a year.
As part of the plan to ease the shortage some carriers have independently turned to Eastern Europe and even Russia to attract new hires. In addition to high salaries, some of the companies have even resorted to offer to pay applicable taxes. “With the expansion of the fleets, the increase in the number of private carriers and market liberalization, this is one way of attracting captains and first officers to fill the vacancies,” Liu pointed out
According to Boeing’s 2016-2035 projection, the Asia-Pacific region will lead the worldwide growth in demand with a requirement for 248,000 new pilots, with China needing the most.
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