PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines Bhd needs to add 150 pilots to its current 927 pilots to stabilise its operations.
CEO Izham Ismail said the national carrier is targeting to normalise its operations by early 2019 and has already recruited 62 new pilots.
“But retirement, attrition, pilots finding better opportunities, all of these continue, hence, Malaysia Airlines requires replacements and recruitment of new pilots, “ he said on the sidelines of the Malaysia Airlines cabin crew graduation ceremony in Kelana Jaya.
In fact, the national carrier, which is still going through an organisational turnaround has already been hit by a shortage of pilots in mid-second quarter of this year, he said.
Izham said for the next 10 years, the industry requires a huge influx of pilots, estimated at 255,000 in Asia Pacific from now until 2035.
He said the industry needed more pilots to keep up with the growth in the aviation sector in Asia Pacific, with 40% of aeroplanes produced expected to be delivered to the region.
Airline bosses need to be 10 years ahead or risk a shortage of pilots, he said.
Besides Malaysia Airlines, other global airlines such as Qantas, Qatar, and Cathay Pacific are also facing pilot shortages, he said, adding that Delta Airlines recently announced that it needed 8,000 new pilots.
He said for the last three weeks, Malaysia Airlines had put about 250 pilots through various phases of training, and they included new recruits who underwent conversion trainings, and cadets who were sent to flying schools.