GUEST COLUMNIST: Juan L. Mercado
No. This is not about five stewardess fined for doing a three minute Hawaiian-themed dance, clad in bikini tops , while in an inaugural flight. That report referred to a $956 ( roughly P40,000 ) penalty clamped on the five ladies, all candidates in a beauty contest by the Vietnamese authorities. The “Scheherazade’s” were aboard the VietJetAir inaugural flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang, Tuoi Tre newspaper says.
Beyond the bikini tops, what caught our attention earlier was a Boeing Aircraft Company study. Asia and the Pacific will need 185,600 new pilots over the next two decades, it says..
That doesn’t include a call for 601,000 new aircraft maintenance technicians. Again, Asia-Pacific will account for the biggest number of job openings: 243,500 aircraft technicians, no less.
The Chicago, Illinois-based aircraft manufacturer based its projection on the two billion people, mostly from China and India, expected to enter the middle class. They’ll jack up demand for air travel. Boeing factored in it future delivery of jets to international airlines.
Interest quotient has been whetted by continuing ads, placed by the new Philippine Airlines management . . Come “fly the flag with us.” It’s a pitch, not for new, but for senior pilots. These range from captains for 747 jumbos to A320 Airbus.
Oh, yes. PAL’s cabin recruitment tour 2012 has been launched in Luzon.”Sit tight as the tour takes us to the Visayas and Mindanao soon,.” the ads advise.
Pilots are only part of the skill drain the Philippines must cope with. In August 2010, PAL reeled when 25 senior pilots quit for cockpits in the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia. “The salary here is a lot smaller than in other countries”, Airline Pilots Association of the Philippines president Elmer Pena told AFP then.. “You can't really compare it.”
Rep. Arnel Ty urges education and civil aviation authorities to gear for future needs --- and opportunities “We Filipinos have a distinct advantage because, among other factors, our graduates are fluent in English -- the mandated international language of aviation, including aviation technology and electronics”
He proposed preferential post-high school scholarship grants to students who’d prepare for careers in related fields. Among others, these include aeronautical engineering, air traffic control, aircraft maintenance technology, aviation electronics to information management in airline operations. ,
Cebu Pacific Air is putting up a P2.1-billion Philippine Academy for Aviation Training (Based at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, PAAT is a 50-50 joint venture between the Gokongwei family-owned budget carrier and Canada’s ACE Inc. (formerly Canadian Aviation Electronics Inc.).
Through PAAT, Cebu Pacific is offering educational assistance to young Filipinos who want to train as pilots. In return, they would serve as commercial pilots for Cebu Pacific for a few years.
For 12 years now, Lufthansa Technik Philippines has offered from Manila International Airport offers a wide range of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services to customers worldwide.
It’s seven hangar bays and workshops provides base maintenance checks for the A319/A320 and A330/A340 types of aircraft. . A new widebody hangar was recently added to meet the increasing demand for A330/A340 base maintenance checks.
LTP provides total technical and engineering support for the entire Philippine Airlines (PAL) fleet provides maintenance personnel and facilities at the Philippines' Manila, Cebu, Clark and Davao airports.
Equally significant, the company trains Filipino aircraft mechanics for increasing sophisticated needs. Lufthansa allots P800,000 to P1 million for the training of one aircraft mechanic.