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Indonesia recruits civil servants to plug pilot shortage

04 may 2013, 17:08
0
Captain Sudiro Usodho conducts a class for pilots. ©REUTERS/Beawiharta
Captain Sudiro Usodho conducts a class for pilots. ©REUTERS/Beawiharta
Indonesia has started to train civil servants to become flight instructors to meet demand for pilots in its fast-growing aviation industry, AFP reports citing the transport ministry spokesman.

Indonesia is booming with an emerging middle class increasingly relying on air travel across the archipelago of 17,000 islands, with up to 900 new planes set to be delivered to the country in the next decade.

However, Indonesia has been slow to train pilots and flight instructors and has been forced to recruit foreign pilots in recent years.

Indonesia now has 6,000 to 7,000 pilots. It has dozens of flight instructors and produces 400-500 pilots a year, but the number is short of the aviation industry demand of up to 800 pilots a year.

"With this situation it is difficult for airlines to utilise their planes to the fullest," because the planes need to fly frequently for the airlines to make profit, transport ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan told AFP.

To meet demand, the government has started recruiting civil servants to train as instructors for its flying schools this year and in two or three more schools it planned to build in the coming years, he added. They are recruited from various government departments but have no flying experience.

The pilot shortage has raised concerns that exhaustion and lack of experience that may lead to accidents.

Last month, a Lion Air plane missed the runway on the resort island of Bali and crashed in the sea.

There were no fatalities in the dramatic incident which is under investigation but it has highlighted the problems of an aviation sector facting a lack of experienced crew to meet fast-growing demand.

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