Pilot shortage spurs push to lift retirement age

Published: 13/10/2008 05:00



VietNamNet BridgeThe Civil Aviation Administration of Viet Nam (CAAV) is petitioning for the retirement age of Vietnamese pilots to be raised to 65 years to help alleviate the shortage of pilots in the country.

A pilot attends a flight course with a foreign instructor. The Civil Aviation Administration of Viet Nam (CAAV) wants to raise the retirement age for pilots to 65 to deal with a shortage of pilots.

Ho Minh Tan, head of flight safety department at the CAAV said this petition was given by the CAAV to the Ministry of Transport already in April last year.

The ministry gathered opinions from other ministries and sectors about the age limit increase for Vietnamese pilots, but the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs could not come to agreement with the Ministry of Health and the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour, said Tan.

The Viet Nam Airlines originally submitted its complaints about the shortage to the CAAV.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) allows pilots under 65 of age to pilot commercial airplanes, and some countries in the region such as Singapore, Thailand and India have already amended their age regulations to ICAO’s standard.

Raising the upper age limit of Vietnamese pilots is causing controversy, because it would violate labour law which regulates that men retire at 60 and women at 55, said Tan

Despite the concerns about older people doing dangerous and technically challenging work, recently retired pilot Nguyen Thanh Trung, who was also former Deputy General Director of the Viet Nam Airlines, is now being employed as a private pilot of Doan Nguyen Duc, Chairman of the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint-Stock Company.

Captain Trinh Van Nhan of the Viet Nam Airlines also felt with his 43 years of experience and his good health, at the age of 60 he is still capable of flying a plane.

“As pilots, we must pass periodic check-ups. So, I think, check-up programmes can just be increased for pilots who are near 60,” he said.

A national pilot training centre has been established in Khanh Hoa Province for providing more skilled personnel for Viet Nam. However, training a skilled pilot is not easy with the total cost coming to about US$100,000.

The answer so far has been to hire foreign pilots to fill the supply gap. The Viet Nam Airlines’ flight team now has 304 Vietnamese and 120 foreign pilots, according to Phan Xuan Duc, an official from the team.

On average, 10 Viet Nam Airlines pilots retire every year, and 10-18 must be recruited. The company has set a target that 75 per cent of its pilots will be Vietnamese by 2010, however, there is a lack of both Vietnamese and foreign pilots, said Duc.

Duc also said that most Vietnamese pilots were in favour of increasing the upper age limit for working and as long as health is found to be good through periodic checks-up.

(Source: Viet Nam News)

Update from: http://english.vietnamnet.vn//profiles/2008/10/808316/

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