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As a generation of airline Captains retires

Media Release
29 August 2012

As a generation of airline Captains retires, CTC asks: “Who will sit in the left hand seat?”

Hamilton, New Zealand – Speaking at the Asia Pacific Airline Training Symposium (APATS) in Singapore this week, CTC Aviation Training (NZ) Limited Managing Director, Ian Calvert has urged Flight Training Organisations (FTOs) and airlines worldwide to ensure they select and recruit tomorrow’s pilots with a Captain’s skill set in mind.

“For the past fifty years, the aviation industry has seen large numbers of civilian and military aviators gain a range of experiences and training through exposure to extremely challenging flying situations.

“That generation of pilots had the maturity and abilities required to assume the role of airline Captain with ease. They were people with a skill set that commanded respect and who led with confidence.

“For the past decade, however, we’ve seen this generation of Captains begin retiring en masse. We need to ensure we are training the next generation of pilots who can assume these vacant left-hand seats when the time comes,” explained Mr Calvert.

Mr Calvert said maintaining high Captain standards throughout the industry will only happen if FTOs recognise they must recruit, train, and manage a pilot into the left hand seat in a different manner and work hand-in-hand with their airline partners.

CTC Aviation is a world leading, Approved Training Organisation (ATO) as both a Type Rating Training Organisation (TRTO) and FTO. The company trains approximately 2,000 new and experienced aircrew for more than 50 global airlines each year and has built a reputation for working closely with its airline partners to meet their exact pilot specifications.

Having delivered command skills development programmes for the past twenty years for a range of airlines around the world, CTC is well placed to correctly identify the required attributes of a future commander during cadet selection and nurture those skills from day one of their ab initio training through into the airline operational environment.

“As more senior pilots retire or lose medical fitness, it is not simply a matter of replacing like for like. With the skyrocketing number of new pilots required worldwide over the next five years, this won’t be possible.

“We believe the solution lies in establishing a close airline-FTO partnership to address these issues, even before selection, to determine the exact ‘person specification’ required. This partnership must then be continued through a structured command skills development programme until that pilot gains command.

“Selecting the right candidate today must include focusing on the person’s personality. The right trainee must: have maturity beyond their years, be calm and focused, demonstrate commitment and knowledge of aviation and be willing to adapt and learn.

“After selection, FTOs must then nurture trainees. No longer can training be just about teaching stick and rudder skills. Cadets must be guided in decision making - in and out of the training environment – in areas related to teamwork, career planning, plus inter-personal and communications skills.

“FTOs must encourage trainees to have positive personal interactions and realise what are appropriate and non-appropriate behaviours. Ultimately, we want trainees to have an inquisitive and questioning thought process – one especially focused on safety and team performance,” Mr Calvert explained.

Mr Calvert ended his speech by encouraging fellow FTOs to join with CTC Aviation to develop their recruitment and selection processes and play their role in keeping the industry safe. He also urged airlines to follow in the footsteps of operators such as IndiGo who recently selected CTC to deliver command skills development programmes for their future Captains.

“We believe CTC sets the standard for command skills training around the world. It is an aspect of aircrew training that is under-provided for and not enough airlines invest effectively in their future commanders. IndiGo has been very forward thinking in its decision to ensure their Captains are properly equipped for their role.

“The figures that are being quoted in our industry regarding future pilot requirement suggest that around 450,000 new pilots will be employed over the next 18-20 years. We must not forget that with such growth comes a need for more rapid promotion to command. While some people undoubtedly have natural leadership potential, it is essential that they are assessed for command potential at an early stage and taught the correct application skills.

“It is not a simple step from the right-hand seat to the left and as a rapidly growing industry we must ensure that we fully equip our aircrew for their jobs.

“As numbers of aircraft, passengers and airports increase, we cannot ignore the future and who is sitting in the left hand seat,” said Mr Calvert.

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About CTC Aviation Group Limited

CTC Aviation is a world leading airline training and pilot resource solutions company. As an Approved Training Organisation (TRTO and FTO), the company trains approximately 2,000 aircrew for more than 50 global airlines each year. UK and NZ based Crew Training Centres house Airbus. Boeing and Diamond simulators, hi-tech Computer Based Training facilities and a fleet of the latest, modern technology training aircraft; all supported by one of the most experienced teams of Training Captains and Flight Instructors worldwide.

CTC’s portfolio spans the full spectrum of airline training and resourcing requirements; pilots and cabin crew; ATPL and MPL training, type rating training, command and non-technical skills through to TRE Standardisation; ground school, simulator provision and line training; management and consultancy support; start ups, conversions and recurrent.

Airline clients include Air Malawi, Air Seychelles, British Airways, easyJet, easyJet Switzerland, Flybe, Flydubai, IndiGo,, the Jetstar Group, Monarch Airlines, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways.

“CTC Wings” is a unique, comprehensive programme of developmental training for tomorrow’s airline pilots. The CTC Wings Cadet route takes individuals with no flying experience all the way to the right hand seat of a commercial airliner in approximately two years.
“CTC TAKEOFF” offers accessible and affordable JAA / EASA modular courses ranging from ME CPL/IR through to MCC and type rating.
“CTC FlexiCrew” is an initiative to provide flexible yet quality resourcing solutions for both the airline industry and qualified pilots, including experienced instructors and examiners.
CTC Aviation Jet Services Limited, the company’s private jet management division offers a personalised service for private jet owners around the world seeking a bespoke and total solution to managing and operating their fleet.

Airline Placement Limited (APL)
The principal activity of APL is that of providing fully trained cadet pilots to the airline industry. APL sponsors cadet pilots throughout their training programme and purchases the required aviation training services from various companies, including CTC Aviation.

Airline Recruitment Limited (ARL)
A company wholly owned by CTC Aviation Group Limited, responsible for overseeing the recruitment and placement of First Officers, Captains, Instructors and Examiners on engagement with CTC's client airlines.

CTC holds UK CAA JAA/EASA TRTO and FTO/ATO Approval and is also recognised by various regulators worldwide. or

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