Beijing, Oct 9 (IANS) Aiming to address the problem of pilot shortage in the country, a Chinese airline has intensified its efforts to recruit high school students for pilot training, the media reported on Friday.
The Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines plans to recruit 100 high school students for enrollment in 10-year programmes at aviation colleges, China.org reported.
“We are recruiting more high school students this year because of an increasing need for pilots as we expand our fleet,” said Hao Tiecheng, an airline official.
A rapid increase in air travel in China has created a huge demand for pilots. According to US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing.Co, Chinese airlines will need at least 100,000 additional pilots and 106,000 aircraft mechanics by 2034.
China requires about 5,000 new pilots every year, but domestic flight training schools supply only 2,000. The gap is filled by foreign pilots.
Domestic civil airlines traditionally recruited pilots from the nation’s seven professional flight academies. The Civil Aviation Flight University of China, based in Sichuan province, is the largest, providing 90 percent of civilian pilots.
China Eastern said it will expand talent scouting at universities across China, with a focus on students who show high scholastic skills, the ability to think logically and fluency in English.
According to China Eastern, 40 of the high school students recruited in Shanghai will be sent to the Civil Aviation Flight University, while the others will study at the Shanghai University of Engineering Science. They will receive further training with the airline after graduation, Hao added.
Candidates must be between 16 to 20 years.