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Massey University Graduates International Pilots

Eight top pilots from Indonesia's international airline Garuda graduated from Massey University Albany with the Bachelor of Aviation (Flight Crew) degree this week.

The pilots completed two years of study in New Zealand followed by a further two years in Indonesia flying Boeing 737 400 series jet aircraft as First Officers.

This was the first time that Massey University had established a partnership with an airline to train students to meet both university and airline regulatory requirements to fly as first officers and complete an undergraduate degree. This partnership has been termed a Massey Airline Internship Programme.

The class completed their degree two years ago but Indonesian economic and social difficulties had made it impossible for them to have a graduation ceremony until now.

Also, because Garuda management regarded these pilots as among their very best performers, they were reluctant to release them all at one time for this ceremony until now.

The pilots were the first cohort to be trained by Massey as a result of a memorandum of understanding signed between the university and Garuda in 1993.

At the time Massey University was offering one of the world's few degree-based airline programmes and remains one of only a handful of universities which provide and integrated academic, technical and flight practicum professional degree graduating pilots for the air transport industry.

Head of Aviation Professor Graham Hunt said the partnership between the airline and Massey arose out of a meeting in which Garuda captains inquired about how to educate pilots to reflect the more professional demands of aviation at the end of the 21st century.

"This experience has been recognised by many of the world airlines and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as a model for a future ab initio air transport licence," Professor Graham Hunt said.

He said New Zealand's historical pioneering efforts in aviation were being recognised in the development of this unique professional education degree.

"The BAv is focussed on raising the professional standards of pilot entry to the air transport industry in much the same way as earlier degrees in aeronautical engineering provided engineers who created the aircraft and flight systems operating today." Professor Hunt said.

For further information contact: Professor Graham Hunt (09) 443 4799 ext 9446

Released by Niki Widdowson Massey Albany public affairs journalist (09) 443 9799 ext 9421

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