[Bahamas] Aviation Fears Pilot Shortage

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[Bahamas] Aviation Fears Pilot Shortage

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Jun 20, 2019

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2019/jun ... -shortage/

[Bahamas] Aviation Fears Pilot Shortage
NATARIO McKENZIE, Tribune Business Reporter
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Bahamas could suffer a shortage of commercial airline pilots due to the aggressive recruitment drives and higher salaries being offered by major global carriers.

Captain Joseph Moxey, president of the Bahamas Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), told Tribune Business; “What we see happening could eventually lead to a shortage locally. Emirates, and a lot of the Asian and Arab carriers, are recruiting globally. They pay a decent salary. It’s very attractive. If guys get the opportunity they take it.

“So far Bahamasair has lost, in the last two or three years, probably three pilots. I understand the commuter guys like Western and Sky have lost pilots as well. The word is out the industry will be short of pilots. Not many people are being trained to be pilots. I have seen literature where they say there is a need for 600,000 pilots over the next 20 years, though I’m not sure how they came up with that figure.”

Captain Moxey added that the cost of pilot training was a key challenge to developing a deeper pool of Bahamian talent. “It takes $70,000 to $100,00 to train an average pilot. That’s for the basic license; not including a four-year degree. We need to make it more attractive to join the industry. This is definitely a concern,” he said.

“A lot of our pilots like would like to stay at home. It could come down to family status. However, we just lost a guy earlier this year who has a family and left after 14 years in the company. I understand there are more in the pipeline. A lot of guys don’t say anything. You just find out when they leave.”

Tribune Business was unable to reach Bahamasair general manager, Tracy Cooper, before press deadline. However, SkyBahamas chief executive, Captain Randy Butler, said the issue further underscored the need for a national plan for the country’s aviation sector.

“There is a global pilot shortage,” he confirmed. “After the Colgan aircraft accident in 2009 in the US, several laws were put in place. That caused all the American pilots who were working abroad to go back home because the demand was so great.

“Emirates, Copa and these African airlines have recruited a number of pilots from here. People were willing to pay good money. Because of this great demand, because of what Emirates and others would pay, it creates an imbalance.

“You’re trying to keep the ticket prices down to be competitive but the reality is you have to pass that on and some things have to change. Here in The Bahamas we are not planning for these things.”

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