Thank you for your wonderful site and inspiring book [Life in the Skies]. The book is really simple to read. It consist a lot of information about the procedures and safety of flight.
I really want to be a commercial airline pilot and thank God my parents are willing to send me to a flying school (HMA) and class will commence starting middle of March 2014. Actually I am already equipped with a Degree in Engineering but still flying is my passion and dream, and I would go all out for my dream, but as we all know in the past 3 years there was a glut of pilots and many of them got their wings clipped. So here are some of my questions:
1) What is the current employment rate now for commercial airline pilots? Does AirAsia still hire co-pilot from the flying schools?
2) According to the current news about MAS suffering a massive loss, when an airline is suffering at such loss, do they still hire pilots?
3) Are the graduates from flying school qualified enough to be hired as co-pilots? Or they have to find their own ways to increase their flying hours?
4) Is it true graduates from flying school have to take yearly examination/test to keep their CPL active?
5) Is there any expiration for CPL/IR with ATPL holder? In the event they are not able to secure a job as pilot?
6) In your opinion, what do you think of the employment rate for this coming 2 years?
Thank you for your time and I hope I can get some advice from you.
I am glad you enjoyed reading my book. You took the right step in getting a Degree in engineering first before you embarked on your dream job. As you are aware, the flying career is getting more saturated today in Malaysia where supply exceeds demand.
Below are the answers to your queries:-
1. The employment rate for commercial airline pilots in Malaysia is low at the moment. Hence AirAsia would only select the best in the market. A good graduate from any flying schools with an Engineering degree would have a better chance of being absorbed into the airlines.
2. It is obvious that when an airline is suffering from massive loss, the company may have to downsize in order to survive. The airline may even lay off some of their pilots!
3. Fresh graduates from the flying schools are not qualified to be employed as co-pilots in the airlines. They have to undergo further course such as the Multi Crew Cooperation Course (MCC) and a type rating course on the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737.
4. To maintain the currency of the CPL, you may have to satisfy the conditions as per your question in No 5 (see here)
5. A CPL/IR with frozen ATPL holder who is not employed will find that his licence would lapse after 1 year - see hereAIC MALAYSIA Case D page 30) and he may be required to do a “Certificate of Test” to renew his licence. See Item 9 below:
EXPIRY OF CERTIFICATE OF TEST AND CERTIFICATE EXPERIENCE BY
A PERIOD OF MORE THAN 1 YEAR
If a period of more than 1 year has lapsed since the validity of the most recent certificate of Test and the most recent Certificate of Experience has both expired or it there is no evidence to indicate that flying currency is maintained within that one-year period. the licence holder will be required, before he wishes to exercise the licence privileges, pass Technical Examination - Aircraft, Part 2 and the Aircraft Rating Flight Test.
An ATPL is valid for 5 years (see FAQ 7 here). Thereafter, you may have to do a full course again. Please seek reconfirmation from DCAM on any updates on this.
6. To give you an idea on the situation in Malaysia as updated in the The Star On Line on June 2013 (see here), and also here), as below:-
•1,174 junior pilots are still unemployed due to the lack of will to work from the bottom up
•Only 1 out of 10 pilots is willing to rough it out and willing to work as flight instructors or fly smaller aircraft to clock in the necessary hours
•Malaysia has 5 flying schools that churn out about 300 graduates annually
•If you think that becoming a pilot could turn into a lucrative career, think again. Every year, about 300 junior pilots are being produced in the country’s five flying schools. And most of them are still unemployed.
•A pilot is said to earn between RM7,000 and RM10,000 a month but in reality, the rookies have to start at the bottom of the pile, with a pay of about RM4,000.
•These junior pilots graduate with 200 hours under their belt, allow then to only fly small aircraft below 5,700kg. They are not qualified to fly airlines unless they complete the 1,500 flight hours and further intensive type training and stringent tests. Its only when these requirements are duly complied can they receive the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL).
The employment rate forecast in the next 2 years in Malaysia is fair. All these forecasts are depended on the global economic situation. Chances to get into the legacy airlines such as Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines are not as good as those in the Low Cost Carriers such as AirAsia, Malindo, (Malaysia) or TigerAir, SilkAir, Jet Star (Singapore).
If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim or Facebook here