Under its ambitious growth plans, Cathay Pacific – the Hong Kong based private airline – is in the process of hiring Pakistani pilots. The drive is part of an international recruitment process in which the carrier aims to hire 300 pilots from different countries – including Pakistan – in 2012, says David Alan Whitehead Hodges, Cathy Pacific’s deputy flying training manager, in an interview with The Express Tribune.
The upbeat Hodges, who was recently in Pakistan to recruit Second Officers, says the airline requires hundreds of pilots to match its ambitious targets for the coming decade.
“We are aware that there exists a considerable amount of interest in the aviation industry in Pakistan, and we have received a large number of applications from what appear to be well-qualified candidates,” Hodges says.
This is the first time the airline is recruiting Second Officers from Pakistan.
“Pakistani pilots have equal opportunity to secure as many positions as they qualify for,” he replies, when asked if there is a specific hiring limit for Pakistani candidates; “it depends solely on the suitability of the applicants.”
When asked about education and/or training prerequisites, he says the airline attaches considerable importance to accreditations from international regulators. The importance of basic training and education diminishes significantly if a prospective pilot has international accreditations and extensive flying experience, he says.
Talking about the airline’s growth plans, he says Cathay Pacific has ordered 100 wide body airplanes for the next couple of years. To meet growing operations, the airline now requires new pilots.
To a question, he says that Cathay Pacific has some Pakistani pilots in its crew but the airline wants to hire more. “Our message to Pakistani pilots is clear: we are a growing airline and we need qualified pilots – so, do come to us.”
Successful candidates from the first round of interviews in Karachi will go for further interviews and assessments in Hong Kong. Successful candidates from Hong Kong will then go to Australia for a flight grading assessment. Since Hong Kong is Cathay Pacific’s home, the airline plans to base all new Second Officers there. Therefore, after completion of the training programme in Australia and upon joining the airline, all successful pilots will complete further training in Hong Kong. However, applicants with sufficient experience and impressive credentials may skip the training process and be invited directly to Hong Kong, Hodges explains.
South East Asia is home to some of the fastest growing economies of the world – where new airlines are entering markets, while existing ones are expanding operations on the back of strong economic growth in regional countries. Officials of the airline say that it attracted applications from all over the world when it first advertised pilot vacancies.
With the acquisition of 100 new aircrafts in the pipeline, and plans of ambitious growth in its international network, Cathay Pacific is all set to expand its operations to different regions, especially in Asia.
The airline has a wide-body aircraft fleet of Boeing 747s, Boeing 777s, Airbus A330s and Airbus A340s. It deploys pilots according to the aircraft types on which they serve.
The airline flies to 162 destinations in 42 countries and territories, with 137 aircrafts. Cathay Pacific and its subsidiaries employ 29,217 people worldwide, making it one of the biggest employers from Hong Kong.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2012.