Samoa Air develops programme to keep newbies flying


One of the major problems newly graduated pilots from flying schools face anywhere in the world is finding work because of the lack of experience. <!--more-->Graduate pilots have been known to leave flying altogether because of their inability to find a job because they are often turned down because airlines want trained, experienced pilots.

The problem is equally severe in the Pacific. But Samoa Air has taken steps to address it and it is beginning to show results. The airline’s Chief Executive Chris Langton and Chief Pilot Peni Maiava have had an in-house programme approved that takes graduates of single engine aircraft to flying twin-engine planes in a matter of just two years.

Captain Maiava says the system provides Samoan pilots with a way to progress from the sensitive, in-between stage of graduating from flying school but not having enough experience to be employed. Captain Langton who has previously worked as an Advanced Training Instructor Pilot for Singapore Airlines says the scheme is unique.

Samoa Air also plans to provide apprenticeships to engineering staff as well. “You must have a system which provides for ongoing training and a career pathway,” Captain Langton told the Samoa Observer.

“This process led us to a decision to embark on establishing a Flying Training facility in Samoa as an adjunct to the airline. The idea of having a Flight Training School here in Samoa has come about because both my Chief Pilot and I have had a lot to do with training pilots all of our lives. It’s a thing which we wanted to do within the airline and the response from the public all over has been overwhelming.”

Samoa Air also recently announced it intends to move into international jet operations commencing with flights to and from Brisbane and Auckland in June 2014. This is to be followed by Nadi and Honolulu in August next year.

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