DALLAS – In collaboration with Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) plans to hire and train 800 new junior pilots by 2025.
As a global lack of flight crew looms as a serious concern, this signals a significant extension of the airline’s cockpit training initiatives. The airline and the University plan to restart a cadet program that was discontinued during the pandemic.
With the program, CX is poised to train more pilots than it has in its 75-year history, as the Hong Kong-based carrier struggles to fill cockpit positions following large resignations due to harsh COVID regulations in the Asian financial capital.
As a result, CX said in January that it would seek a stable recruitment plan for the long term. Airlines throughout the world are taking steps to re-fill positions that have vanished virtually overnight due to buyout settlements or early retirements.
In four years, CX will hire around four-fifths of the “more than 1,000” cadets it has trained over the previous 35 years, according to BNN Bloomberg. The airline, which represents Hong Kong’s status as a worldwide business center, now employs 2,700 pilots, down from over 3,100 in early 2021.
Training, Hiring Numbers
The airline’s classroom lectures in Hong Kong and practical flight school training in Adelaide, Australia, or Phoenix, Arizona, are part of a typical pilot training program that lasts up to 60 weeks.
The company hired 200 pilots as part of its existing recruiting efforts, which began in the summer of last year and included the majority of the 300 workers hired across the airline. Many of them were former Cathay Dragon crew members. The airline is also in the process of hiring 150 former trainee pilots who were unable to join owing to the epidemic two years ago.
In 2022, the airline plans to hire 190 cadet applicants, with as many as 300 every year for the next five years, up from just 180 in 2019.
In 2020, the carrier cut about 6,000 workers amid a restructuring process. As part of its cost-cutting efforts, the airline also closed down most of its overseas pilot crew locations.
Featured image: Cathay Pacific B-KPE Boeing 777-367(ER). Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways