Trainee pilots in the cockpits with Jetstar's domestic flights

>> Thursday, May 5, 2011


Jetstar flights flown by part- time trainee pilots

Cadets pay airline $10,500 a year for training

JETSTAR passenger services are being flown by trainee pilots with as little as 200 hours experience, according to the pilots' association.

The cadets are employed on part-time contracts which guarantee just $57,600 a year - with no pay rise for six years - and require them to pay the airline $10,500 a year for on-the-job training costs.

If they wish to resign after less than six years with Jetstar, their contracts require they pay up to $10,000.
Trainees under the program are currently co-piloting Airbus A320s between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Most are unable to legally fly to New Zealand, where the requirement for commercial pilots is 500 hours experience.
Australian and International Pilots Association vice-president Richard Woodward accused Jetstar of trying to make young pilots "financial prisoners of the airline".

"This program is putting a person with about the same number of hours it takes to drive a car in the right hand seat of the cockpit," he said.

"Jetstar is creating a 'B scale' for pilots because they're part-time employees."

Jetstar denied the claims and said the program provided an "excellent career opportunity. In the past, becoming a pilot has been extremely expensive and has taken many years of flying in general aviation," a spokeswoman said.

"[It] makes becoming a pilot more accessible."

Jetstar said the program, launched late last year, would "deliver enhanced safety outcomes as it is based on ensuring pilot competency, with the pilots trained in Jetstar procedures ... from day one."

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