Boeing rejects claims over 787 training pilots
Manama, November 15, 2012
By Sree Bhat
Boeing has rejected concerns raised by a pilot's organisation regarding the employment of "temporary pilots" to provide flight crew training.
The plane maker said the employment of "purchased service instructor pilots" makes good business sense.
They have the same qualifications as full-time Boeing pilots and any pilots dispatched to train or fly with Boeing's customers are of the same high quality, receive the same training and ongoing courses and meet the same standards and qualifications – regardless of whether they are full time or contractor, said a Boeing spokesperson in an emailed response to TradeArabia.
A statement from the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, which represents the full-time pilots who belong to the Airplane Manufacturing Pilots Association (AMPA), yesterday said flight crews at Qatar Airways and LAN Airlines are scheduled to be the first Boeing customers to receive flight crew training from temporary, contract pilots.
The temporary pilots have little of the advanced training required to become, and maintain qualification as, a full-time Boeing pilot, according to SPEEA. In some cases, the temp pilots have less than one hour at the controls of the 787, the union alleged.
“This means these ‘instructor pilots’ are ‘training’ Qatar and LAN pilots who have orders of magnitude more actual flight time and experience in the 787 than they do,” said Ray Goforth, executive director of SPEEA. “Full-time Boeing instructor pilots are available to support Qatar and LAN, but Boeing is choosing to risk its reputation and stick these customers with minimally qualified contract pilots in order to save a few nickels,” Goforth said.
However, the Boeing spokesperson said: “In addition to full-time instructor pilot staff, Boeing purchases instructor pilot services through a third-party vendor. One group, known as purchased service instructor pilots (PSIPs), provides ground school and simulator training. Another group, known as purchased service pilots (PSPs), provides training and line assist to customers in their airplanes."
There have been no customer complaints on this issue, the spokesperson said.
"All purchased service instructors who will conduct 787 training and line assist flying have completed training in the airplane. They received the same “base” training as full time employees, which incuded touch and go’s and instrument approaches in airplane ZA005," the spokesperson said.
"The practice of engaging purchased service instructor pilots decreases the number of layoffs during a downturn or fluctuations in demand for training. It makes good business sense,”
the spokesperson said. - TradeArabia News Service