MORE PILOTS FOR ‘THE PRIDE OF AFRICA’
It was learned this morning from a source in Nairobi that Kenya Airways, currently already employing almost 380 pilots, is sending yet more for the initial basic training to South Africa, where the ‘aspirants for wings’ will join another 45 colleagues, presently undergoing their induction into flying a first ‘light’ and then eventually commercial aircraft. Few if any of them appears to have had any prior knowledge of private or commercial aircraft operations and will learn their new craft from scratch, i.e. undergoing all the rigours of learning how to fly, how to navigate and lots more of course, before being able to eventually to their first ‘solo flight’ in a couple of weeks.
The more than 5 million Kenya Shillings cost of the course is being financed by Co-Operative Bank of Kenya and will be repaid in instalments once the trainee pilots have been deployed and are earning their first salaries with KQ, which in turn guarantees employment to every successful graduate of the course. It does appear that they will be ‘bonded’ for a period of time, to allow the airline re-coup training expenses and their investment in manpower development, but this is almost normal these days, considering the extremely high cost involved, before a trainee pilot can be deployed on one of their aircraft. The training school is based in Port Elizabeth where the students will progressively graduate through the various stages, the first being the PPL or Private Pilots License, followed by the Commercial Pilots License before eventually reaching the final stage of attaining an Air Transport Pilots License or ATPL.
Kenya Airways has for years been engaging in such training support in order to ‘grow’ their next generation of pilots from within and not having to rely on the recruitment of expatriates or having to poach pilots from other airlines.