An SAA plane at OR Tambo in Kepmton Park Gauteng. Photo: Leon Nicholas

Johannesburg - The South African Airways uses an unfair admittance policy for its cadet pilot development programme, which does not admit white males, trade union Solidarity said on Thursday.

This was following an unsuccessful application by a white man, who had also applied in 2013 and was unsuccessful.

“In our letter we ask the SAA to provide us with reasons for 1/8the applicant's 3/8 unsuccessful application before 16 May 2014. We also want an indication of the number of white men whose applications were successful,” spokesman Johan Kruger said in a statement.

“Furthermore, we clearly state in the letter that all indications are that white men were once again not admitted to the cadet programme.”

Kruger said in 2013, the white male's application was unsuccessful, despite performing “exceptionally well” in the aviation knowledge and the psychometric tests that were part of the selection process.

He said during a meeting between Solidarity and the SAA in 2013, the SAA confirmed that no white men, regardless of how they had performed in the selection process, had been admitted to the cadet programme.

The applicant had requested the SAA explain in a letter, why his application was rejected.

He had not received a reply to date, Kruger said.

SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said the programme was not an employment recruitment drive, but a bursary programme.

“Its dual purpose nature is intended to contribute towards addressing scarce and critical skills in the aviation industry and secondly, it is aimed at transforming the aviation industry, which at the moment is 89 percent skewed in favour of or dominated by white males.”

He said SAA needed to redress the legacies of the past and to explore increasing the pool of pilots from historically discriminated groups and yet deserving cases.

A statement would be released on Friday which would, among other things, provide a demographic breakdown of the 2014 intake, Tlali said.