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Asian carriers scout for pilots

Airline industry

The aviation sector, particularly the group of carriers plying the Asian routes, was seriously affected by the 2003 Sars outbreak, but has now almost fully recovered. This is reflected in the fact that many airlines are increasing headcounts. One major airline in Hong Kong has said it will be hiring 300 pilots worldwide - double the number last year. Eighty of these jobs will be in Hong Kong.

However, although airlines are enthusiastic about hiring local pilots, they have failed to hire enough trainee pilots in the city in the past two years. Nevertheless, prospects for commercial pilots are encouraging.

In fact, the entire Asian aviation industry badly needs pilots. Fast-growing Asian and Middle Eastern airlines have recently signed orders for hundreds of new airplanes - now they face the problem of finding enough pilots to fly them.

Manufacturers Boeing and Airbus both predict that one third of the total number of orders for aeroplanes from 2011 to 2030 will be from the Asian aviation industry.

The International Civil Aviation Organization also predicts that to meet the Asian aviation market's expansion needs, more than 200,000 pilots are needed in the next 20 years.

Being a pilot is physically and mentally demanding, so those wishing to enter the industry are advised to improve their fitness. Language skills and good eyesight are also important.