PETALING JAYA: Malindo Air is set to at least halve Malaysia's problem of unemployed pilots.
The country's newest low-cost airline and its partner Lion Air will absorb all the 600-odd pilots who turned up for the walk-in interview at the KL International Airport yesterday.
And they might take more with further interviews planned for today and tomorrow, according to Malindo Air chief executive officer Chandran Ramamuthy.
He told The Star: “We will take all of them (who turned up yesterday) and more pilots provided they meet all our requirements which include them passing our entrance examinations and meeting Department of Civil Aviation regulations.
“We will take them within a year. The timing is subject to availability of our instructors and simulator. We intend to position one simulator in Kuala Lumpur early next year.”
He added that Malindo would take some of the pilots and the others would be absorbed by Indonesia's Lion Air, that country's largest privately-owned airline, controlling 50% of the domestic air market.
Those hired will have to undertake an aircraft-type rating, and payment for the training would be through bank loans and other sources of funding, Chandran said.
Malindo, launched last September, is a joint venture between Malaysia'sNadi Sdn Bhd and Indonesia's PT Lion Grup, which controls Lion Air. Nadi has 51% stake in Malindo with PT Lion Grup holding the remaining equity.
Malaysia has 1,174 unemployed pilots, many of whom cannot repay the bank loans they took to obtain the commercial pilot licence which costs an average of RM250,000.
Malindo has given them a ray of hope. Chandran said: “As our group grows, we would need more pilots. We have already ordered over 300 new aircraft to add to our present fleet of 75. We will have the capacity to hire more pilots but it would be done in stages.''
“We have the capacity to absorb more pilots over time because Lion Air now hires pilots from Europe and since Malaysia has unemployed pilots, we can now source them from here,'' Chandran added.
Over 3,000 people attended the walk-in interview yesterday for positions of pilots, cabin crew, engineers and support staff.
Chandran said: “We are building an airline that will have 100 aircraft in 10 years. In five years, we would have created 5,000 jobs.''