Cebu Pacific hiring foreign pilots to fly its Airbus A330s

MANILA, Philippines - Cebu Pacific, hard-pressed to find suitable local candidates, is hiring another batch of foreign pilots to fly its present and coming Airbus A330 long-range planes.

Cebu Pacific hiring foreign pilots to fly its Airbus A330s

MANILA, Philippines – Cebu Pacific, hard-pressed to find suitable local candidates, is hiring another batch of foreign pilots to fly its present and coming Airbus A330 long-range planes.

The Gokongwei airline has tapped two aviation recruitment companies, Ryan Aviation and Contractair, to screen candidates for captain and first officer positions for immediate hiring.

Cebu Pacific currently has 45 foreign pilots on regular positions, less than ten percent of its flight crew, said an airline official who asked not to be identified by name.

Cebu Pacific has been employing foreign pilots since 2011, when the budget carrier embarked on a major expansion, having flown more than 10 million passengers the year before.

The hirings have also cascaded down into the A320 fleet for local and regional routes, with Contractair advertising for an undetermined number of A320 captains for “immediate” and “permanent” deployment.

The foreign pilots, who expect to receive the same compensation and benefits as the locals, will be posted in Manila, Cebu, Clark, Iloilo and Kalibo.

According to the industry grapevine, a Cebu Pacific A320 captain, whether Filipino or foreign, takes home about $8,000 a month in gross income.

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Asked why foreign pilots would relocate to the Philippines if their pay package would be similar to the locals, the airline official said, “The opportunity to work with Cebu Pacific is attractive to both Filipino and foreign pilots because we provide opportunities for transition training to another aircraft type; and for first officers, upgrade training for captaincy as CEB expands its fleet.”

To address pilot shortage, Cebu Pacific opened in late 2012 the Philippine Academy for Pilot Training in partnership with the Canadian global leader CAE.

The pilot school in Clark has two Airbus flight simulators that can train up to 1,400 pilots a year.

After training, the graduates still need to bulk up on actual flying time, in the case of an A320 captain, a minimum of 3,000 hours, with 1,000 hours of that on an A320 to qualify for a Cebu Pacific position.

Demand for pilots in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to increase at a healthy clip over the next 15 years.

Aircraft-maker Airbus forecasts that more than 34 percent, or 9,160 of total global airplane orders until 2030 are destined for the Asia-Pacific region.

Cebu Pacific itself will take delivery between now and 2021 four more Airbus A330, thirty A321neo and fourteen A320.

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