Monday, April 02, 2012

Kenya seeks collaboration in aviation training

Kenya is seeking to cut the cost of training aviation specialists through partnership with other African states in a resource sharing arrangement.

Government officials have agreed with other countries on the continent to use their varying strengths in personnel training to train a critical mass of its talent that is currently in high demand.

Different countries in Africa have different abilities to train for instance air traffic controllers, aircraft engineers, pilots among others.

“This will therefore make it cheaper to train locally instead of spending large sums of money to train people abroad,” said the director general Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Mr Hillary Kioko.

Mr Kioko said that the country is seeking to increase the growing deficit of 2000 pilots in the country by training at least 800 pilots in the near future.

The East African School of Aviation can only train air craft engineers and air traffic controllers but cannot produce pilots. This means that the institution will train engineers and traffic controllers for other African countries but will send pilots for training to the other African states with the capacity to train.

High costs of training pilots and air traffic controllers has forced airlines to send trainees abroad to be trained at the cost of the airlines since individuals cannot afford the courses on their own.

The rapid expansion of airlines in the continent and the entry of new player have placed heavy strain on the existing talent pool. African airlines are losing their talent well-paying organizations making local airlines loss money in training.

“We could experience a shortage qualified aviation professionals to meet the demand created by the rising demand created by the growth of civil aviation” said Mr Raymond Benjamin the secretary general of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

For instance Kenya Airways is seeking to increase the number of pilots by 200 from the 377 it had at the beginning of this year. KQ has been acquiring new planes in its expansion as part of its strategy but the biting shortage of pilots has forced the company to send trainees abroad for training.

The number of commercially operated aircraft in the world is expected to increase from the current 62,000 to some 152,000 in 2030. During the same period Africa is expected to have a 6.1 per cent fleet growth.

The global aviation is also faced lack of standardizes training frameworks across the world for the same aviation jobs.

An Association of African Aviation Training Organization was launched yesterday to harmonize training standards across the continent.

This means there will be more incidences of poaching and head hunting of skills from the least paying airlines to the high paying ones with Africa being the biggest loser in the battle.

The deficit however is an opportunity for those willing to train as qualified aircraft personnel.

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