Aussie Carrier Seeks Government Subsidies For Training

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Australia's Regional Express airline is warning that a pilot shortage will within 12 months become a crisis and is calling on the Australian government to come to the rescue with cash for training. The airline estimates the country will need 900 new pilots per year for the next two years, and says ATPs are being produced in Australia at a rate of less than 400 per year. As a result, those new pilots who fly first for regional carriers are being swept up by national carriers at a rate that exceeds supply, leaving both regional and national carriers wanting.

Regional Express says the large airlines' demand for pilots and historic expansion plans at Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Blue are behind the pilot shortfall and are already leading to cancellation of flights due to a lack of available crews. Regional Express expects the situation to get worse before it gets better.