17 May 2015
Thailand is stepping up efforts to ease the shortage of qualified personnel in the aviation industry in order that the country will be able to attain the goal of becoming an aviation hub in this region.
The Vice President of the Civil Aviation Training Center (Thailand), Squadron Leader Watana Manon, stated that Thailand needs to accelerate the production of more highly experienced professionals, such as pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians, aviation engineers, and air traffic controllers.
He said that 13 public and private institutions in Thailand currently provide training in aviation. They can produce and develop only 2,000 personnel a year, which is not sufficient, taking into consideration that the aviation business is expanding significantly.
The value of Thailand’s aviation business stands at about 400-500 billion baht a year, and it involves thousands of people. Between 80 and 90 million people use aviation services each year. Thailand now has 2,500-3,000 pilots. Each year, the country’s aviation business needs to recruit at least 400-500 new pilots to replace retiring pilots and to meet the growing demand, as more aircraft have been acquired.
About 12 pilots are needed for one aircraft. At present, Thailand can produce only 200-300 pilots a year. There are around 8,000-9,000 aviation technicians and engineers in the country. Demand for this group of skilled workers is about 700-800 a year, while production is only 200-300 annually.
Apart from the shortage of aviation personnel, brain drain is another problem. Thailand has lost many professionals in the aviation industry to foreign airlines.
ASEAN is one of the regions that continue to enjoy the highest growth rates in the global aviation industry. Growth is also attributed to the expansion of low-cost carriers. Demand for flights rose with the expansion of the middle income class in the region, as well.
The year 2015 marks the deadline for the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to get its Single Aviation Market project in place. The aviation business in the ASEAN region is likely to expand significantly once the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) goes into full effect.
The Thai aviation industry is preparing to meet growing demand at home and abroad when the AEC comes into existence in 2015. More tourist arrivals within the region will be seen, together with growth in the aviation business. As a result, pilots will be in great demand, and many airlines will try to recruit experienced pilots.
The Ministry of Transport is accelerating the solving of aviation problems. Training of more personnel to higher standards will be carried out, with cooperation from international organizations.