Staff: Shortage of pilots a concern


A PILOT says the increasing number of cancelled and delayed Air Niugini flights, as experienced last weekend, is because of a shortage of pilots.
Capt Joe Kumasi, who was among eight pilots sacked by the airline last week for their alleged involvement in a “politically-motivated” stop-work in July, said while flights could be cancelled for many reasons, the recent cases were likely because of a shortage of pilots. “There has been a shortage (of pilots),” Kumasi told The National.
“There could be other reasons why flights are cancelled. But if it is for the pilots, basically there aren’t enough pilots to fly the airplanes. When the pilot contract was given from January 2015 to now, 86 pilots have left (Air Niugini). The number could be pretty close to 100 now. Pilots do not come easy. To get a pilot to an experienced level is a very difficult thing. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
He said to recruit pilots from overseas was “easier said than done” as it was a very expensive exercise and took a long time.
Kumasi said while Air Niugini was losing pilots, it had “not recruited one because the conditions are not good, and it continues to deteriorate”.

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