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Cathay Pacific has eye on local pilots

Published May 16, 2000

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Cape Town - South African Airways (SAA) and other airlines in this country are likely to lose experienced pilots to Cathay Pacific Airlines, which is recruiting here in readiness for expanding the size of its fleet.

Don Hunter, Cathay`s general manager in southern Africa, said his airline needed 220 more pilots and had already carried out preliminary interviews.

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``South Africa is seen as a source of experienced pilots and we have interviewed quite a number, not only from SAA but from all walks of South African aviation.``

Cathay is SAA`s codeshare partner on the route between Johannesburg and Hong Kong, and carries its passengers on to destinations in Japan and other parts of southeast Asia. Both SAA and Cathay have three flights a week from here to Hong Kong, carrying each other`s passengers.

Demand is booming and Cathay will put on a fourth weekly flight in September, when it has acquired more planes, and hopes to increase this to five a week next year.

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Hunter said that although business and tourism traffic on the route were growing fast, a shortage of capacity had prevented Cathay from putting on more flights before September.

It had disposed of ageing planes during the economic downturn from which Asia had now recovered, and replacements could not be acquired quickly enough to keep pace with demand.

It had now ordered a mixed fleet of Boeing and Airbus Industrie planes.

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