Russian airlines not hiring foreign pilots

FATA is confident that Russian flight schools satisfy the carriers’ demands for qualified workforce FATA is confident that Russian flight schools satisfy the carriers’ demands for qualified workforce (Photo by St. Petersburg State Civil Aviation University)

Federal Air Transport Agency has not received requests for approval of additional employment of foreign pilots from Russian airlines this year, the regulator’s head Aleander Neradko said at a session of the committee. According to him, there are 24 foreign pilots flying for Aeroflot today, all of them citizens of the European Union.

Neradko does not expect that the Russian carriers would have to resort to tapping into international labor-market in the future, since Russian flight schools are “capable of supplying commercial aviation with well-trained specialists.”

“The set number of pilots graduating from Russian educational institutions satisfies the forecast requirement of the airlines,” he emphasized.

In the last several years, the total number of students attending Russian commercial aviation schools has been growing steadily, reaching 25,600 students in 2015. In Russia, commercial pilots are required to graduate from specialized higher education institutions that provide specialized pilot training; as of today there are only such two schools, located in St. Petersburg and Ulyanovsk. In 2018, the Moscow Technical University of Civil Aviation will join the list.

The decree that enabled Russian carriers to hire up to 200 foreign captains annually was signed in August 2014 and is valid for five years. The airlines should submit requests for appropriate permission from FATA for a period of 10 days starting August 16 each year. The measure was introduced as an answer to threatening shortage of captains when airlines increased their fleets of foreign-built aircraft—then airlines’ annual demand for pilots exceeded 1,200 people, whereas by 2017, Russian flight schools could train 1080 new pilots per year (the figure stood at 925 in 2013).

These forecasts and assessments, however, were made before the large-scale economic crisis in Russia, which forced the airlines to cut their capacity and workforce.



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