Foreign pilots intending to work in Indonesia face fresh restrictions as the government plans to limit the employment of copilots with the relevant aircraft type rating to two years and captains to three years.
Authorities plan to impose the policy in an effort to open employment for local jobless pilots and help those with experience to gain seniority.
According to Ministry of Transport (MOT) official Robi Ihsan, while the authorities recognize the need for rapidly expanding carriers to hire experienced foreign pilots, the government also must consider the wider social benefits of employing Indonesian graduates.
Ihsan said the presence of local pilots not only engenders pride but also keeps costs in check.
The ruling will exempt foreign instructors hired by flying schools, helicopter pilots, and pilots working in remote parts of the country. Ihsan said authorities haven’t yet finalized all the terms of the policy, but they will give ample notice of its implementation once they decide the date.
While the ranks of the unemployed in Indonesia include about 550 local pilots, foreign flight crew account for about 11 percent of the estimated 4,800 employed in the industry. The country’s 16 flying schools produce about 160 graduates every year.
A senior airline pilot who spoke with AIN on condition of anonymity said airlines would hire local graduates if they passed the carriers’ pre-entry requirements.
“Local graduates have first to enhance their knowledge and skills before seeking employment,” he pointed out. While he acknowledged that foreign pilots cost more to hire, they tend to bring the necessary experience, he added.
The MOT has begun reviewing each airline’s personnel needs and criteria for hiring foreign pilots.