China faces shortfall of 2,000 airline pilots

China's rapidly expanding civil aviation sector faces a shortfall of 2,000 pilots over the next few years, and a senior regulatory official said they would try to get more women to consider a flying career.

China faces shortfall of 2,000 airline pilots
China's rapidly expanding civil aviation sector faces a shortfall of 2,000 pilots over the next few years, and a senior regulatory official said they would try to get more women to consider a flying career.

Gao Hongfeng, deputy head of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China, said the country would need an additional 9,000 or more pilots by 2010, as airlines were adding new aircraft at the rate of up to 150 a year.

"But speaking truthfully, we only have the capacity to train about 7,000, leaving us lacking 2,000 pilots," he told a Web cast carried on the central government's Web site (www.gov.cn).

They will try to cope with this by expanding existing facilities and permitting privately owned training centres, as well as recruiting more foreign pilots, he said.

"We are also very happy to see that many women are so enthusiastic about this industry and want to become part of it," Gao added. "Airlines have opened their doors to this, and the regulator has too."

Some Chinese airlines already have female pilots, and others are training, he said.

"I've heard they're quite pretty, though I've not seen them myself," Gao said.

But he also took aim at another problem plaguing the Chinese airline industry -- unruly passengers, who often attack staff or refuse to get off delayed aircraft until compensation has been paid.

Delays are often for safety reasons, Gao said.

"I must remind passengers that fixing an aircraft is not like fixing a bike, and there's no way to guarantee it'll be done in half an hour," Gao said.

Reuters
Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2007, 10:39
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