Employ 20 percent Thai pilots, carriers to be told

Bangkok, Oct 24 (IANS) The transport ministry will soon require at least 20 percent of pilots hired by commercial airlines to be Thai nationals, a media report said on Saturday.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith on Friday said the requirement will soon be part of the criteria used to assess whether to issue or renew operating licences for both Thai- and foreign-registered airlines, The Bangkok Post reported.

The quota will be enforced as soon as the requirement is formalised.

The move aims to encourage commercial airlines to assist government efforts to train more Thai pilots to meet surging demand in the rapidly expanding aviation industry.

The Civil Aviation Training Centre (CATC) – the organisation authorised by the state to train pilots – currently produces 100 Thai pilots annually, which cannot keep up with the rapid growth in the aviation business, according to reports by the transport ministry.

For several airlines, the number of Thai pilots employed is less than 15 percent of the pilot workforce, despite the airlines having operated in Thailand for more than 10 years, said Arkhom.

The centre, which has a 400-million baht ($28,136) annual budget, said it cannot increase enrolment due to budget constraints and limited training equipment.

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