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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Saturday, January 20, 2018

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To fix shortage, Australia to grant visas to foreign pilots

Australia has decided to give visas to foreign pilots.

Share on Facebook December 28, 2017, Reporter : BNN, Reader : 407

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CANBERRA, Australia - In a bid to deal with a growing national shortage of pilots that has led to planes being grounded and flights cancelled, Australia has decided to give visas to foreign pilots.

The move, announced by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday involves foreign pilots being allowed entry into Australia on two-year work visas.

However, the move was questioned by Qantas pilots who have raised doubt over the quality of pilots likely to be recruited in regional areas.

Murray Butt, president of the Australian and International Pilots Association, which represents more than 2000 Qantas pilots said in a statement, “The United States and China are paying huge money and that doesn’t leave much for the sort of wages they are paying in regional Australia.”

Butt added, “We need to look at the Chinese airlines buying up flight schools in Australia. That might fix their problem but it doesn’t fix ours.”

According to reports, the shortage of pilots has been triggered by rampant poaching of major airline pilots by overseas airlines and increasing foreign ownership of pilot training skills.

Due to the shortage, Qantas has been forced to cancel a number of its regional services.

Calling the move to bring in foreign pilots as a “very short-term fix,” Qantas pilots have demanded a government white paper to address declining output of Australian flying skills.

Meanwhile, the top body for regional airlines claimed the move was made after their own lobbying efforts.

Mike Higgins, CEO of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia said the government had advised that the decision would be confirmed in a revised skilled occupation list.

The revised skilled occupation list will replace the former 457 visa regime and is set to be released next month.

Higgins added that the association is talking with Dutton about extending the visa period to four years.

 

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