Africa: Air Namibia to recruit more foreign pilots

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AIR Namibia yesterday said the national carrier will be recruiting more foreign pilots due to the expansion of the company, until such a time that the demand for pilots has zeroed.
The airline’s spokesperson, Twaku Kayofa, said there is a shortage of pilots in the country, “let alone skilled or type-rated pilots”, but added that Air Namibia has been training more local pilots in a bid to promote them.

“With the expansion of the company due to air travel growth and demand, Air Namibia shall train and also hire more foreign pilots until such a time that the demand has been zeroed,” he noted.

He said the airline has been expanding, and has been facing problems with workforce allocation as far as aircraft engineers and pilots are concerned.

“Since internal processes and policies restrict us to employ individual pilots directly, we changed to using companies like Orionway and so forth,” Kayofa added.

This was stated in response to questions by The Namibian when it was found that Air Namibia has been using a Geneva-based company called Orionway to hire foreign pilots.

A mini research by The Namibian showed that Orionway has been advertising pilot posts for Air Namibia, with one such post looking for an Airbus A330 captain with 1 000 hours of flying experience, with either an European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) or International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) licence.

This pilot would be working on a two-year renewable commuting contract, with 20 hours on and 10 hours off. The pilot will be accommodated by Air Namibia, and will also be receiving medical insurance as well as a monthly salary of 9 000¬ euro (N$149 400) and a monthly bonus of 700 euro (N$11 620)¬, as well as night-stop per diem of 50 euro (N$830).

Another post looked for an EMB145 captain with 500 hours of experience, with an EASA, FAA or ICAO licence as well as English proficiency.

This captain would be given accommodation, receiving 5 000 euro (N$83 000) per month and a 50 euro (N$830) per diem.

Kayofa said the salaries proposed for the pilots are market-related for the respective fleet, and that such pilots for the types of aircraft utilised by Air Namibia are not easily found in Africa.

“Airbus A319, A330 and ERJ 135 are some of the world’s best aircraft regarding reliability, comfort and safety.

However, their pilots have not been easy to source in Africa to make them relatively cheaper.

“On the other hand, Air Namibia cannot sacrifice its safety standards and records for cheapness. Safety is at the heart of Air Namibia’s operations, and the airline will continue doing everything in its power to maintain its clean safety record,” stressed Kayofa.

The Namibian reported late in June about the employment of foreign pilots in Namibia’s private sector, where Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (Aopa) president Phillip Ellis defended local private charter operators, saying foreign pilots were affordable and readily available

By Ndanki Kahiurika


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