Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, LH Cargo and German wings need about 420 additional pilots next year to meet growing demand, including 315 pilots for the passenger segment alone, and the company is formulating a new training concept to help fill the ranks.
Approximately 4,500 pilots currently fly for the three carriers. “Our subsidiary LFT trained around 220 new pilots in the last two years at its pilot school in Bremen. For additional expansion we are looking for an additional 200 pilots on the free market,” said VP-Training Standards and Crew training Werner Maas.
LH doubled its order for student pilots in Bremen from 120 cadets in 2004 and 2005 to nearly 300 this year. “This figure should grow up to 360 by the end of 2008. Since late 2005, we are seeing an enormous growth in pilot training,” Maas said.
To enhance that growth, a special training concept for new students called progresso will debut in January. The scenario includes updated programs such as ICAO’s Multi-Crew Pilot License. Progresso also strives for more efficiency, putting 27-30 cadets in each class and reducing training time by six weeks to 22 months.
“Progresso not only meets new training standards, but our pilots learn in a more realistic environment,” VP-LFT Pilot School Nils Ecke said. After 12 months of ground school in Bremen and four months of flight training in Arizona (Beech Bonanzas and Frasca FNPTs), cadets return to Bremen and continue training on Cessna Citation CJ1+ jets.
“The first of four light training jets will be in service by the end of 2008 and with the new program and the new plane we will bring our cadets closer to real jet flying,” Ecke explained. Lufthansa has seen a good response so far. “By the end of September LH had 5,000 applications for ab initio training. They all fulfill the basic qualifications to become a Lufthansa cadet,” Maas said, adding that the figure is expected to grow to 6,000 by year end.