The president of Thai Airways International (THAI) plans to solve a shortage of pilots by conducting joint pilot training with Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia.
Sorajak: Wants to set up joint pilot school
Sorajak Kasemsuvan said THAI is facing a pilot shortage and needs to speed up its training of pilots.
He plans to discuss the possibility of joint training or a joint venture pilot school with Bangkok Airways owner Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth and Thai AirAsia chief executive Tassapon Bijleveld.
"I think the success of the aviation business of Thailand is in the national interest so it is good for airlines to join forces to maximise the national interest. It is not right for us to compete for limited resources. Cooperation must expand, especially when competition increases in the aviation industry," Mr Sorajak said.
Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt said recently that THAI management would have to solve its pilot shortage problem.
Thai AirAsia's Mr Tassapon has said he is ready to discuss joint pilot training.
He said he did not consider the pilot shortage to be a critical problem, but if the help of his airline is necessary he would consider cooperating.
He said joint pilot training would be beneficial and he expected to discuss the issue in the New Year.
Mr Tassapon also quoted Dr Prasert, the Bangkok Airways owner, as saying that a major obstacle to Thai aviation is a ban on the use of foreign pilots.
He said Thailand will be at a greater disadvantage when the business is liberalised in 2015 because other countries can recruit Thai pilots but Thailand cannot use foreign pilots.
Mr Tassapon denied Thai AirAsia caused the brain drain at THAI.
He said 26 THAI pilots applied for jobs at Thai AirAsia when the low-cost carrier was recruiting, and finances were unlikely to be their motive because salaries at the two airlines are similar.
Mr Tassapon said his airline was attractive to pilots because there was greater opportunity for them to become captains.
Thai AirAsia pilots flew more often, so they could more quickly accumulate the flight hours needed to qualify for a captain's post.
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- Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook