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  • Pilots of The Future

    27 November 2008

    On the 19th of November 2008, Air Astana JSC organized a press conference devoted to the program of initial pilot training or ab-initio. For the last three months the airline has carried out the process of selecting applicants among whom only 8 people have passed. The candidates will study at the American school CAPT-Commercial Airline Pilot Training, in which they will spend 56 weeks and then will receive professional pilots’ certificates.
    Pilots of The Future
    Peter Foster, Air Astana JSC president: «Today 300 pilots operate in the airline. Among them 15-20% are foreign pilots and the rest are local staff. Currently, the fleet of the company consists of 21 aircraft, while in 2022 it will increase to 63 aircraft. New pilots are being permanently hired, but keeping in mind the dynamic growth of the airline and high demands, the domestic market can not provide us with enough professional pilots. By 2012, Air Astana needs to recruit 300 pilots, and further, the number of pilots will continue to grow in geometric progression. In order to remedy this situation, Air Astana airlines has decided to train its own pilots in the framework of an ab-initio program».
    Kazakhstan’s ab-initio program aims to train people who have not previously been employed as pilots but who have knowledge in physics, mathematics and English. The selection of participants is conducted in four phases. Candidates will have to pass each phase before moving on to the next. The first phase includes an interview, a medical commission and psychological evaluation of each applicant. The second stage consists of a computerized pilot aptitude test which includes mathematics and physics, psychometric tests, and an assessment of knowledge of the English language according to the standards of ICAO. Phase three requires a more intensive interview and a team building operation which involves all candidates working together in a problem solving exercise. Candidates who reach the final phase four are tested in a Flight Simulator to determine their ability to learn. 176 people applied to be chosen for this program. Among them, 119 people were admitted to passing the interview, 36 people reached the second phase, 12 reached the third phase and only 8 people successfully completed all phases. They will now start their training under the supervision of CAPT. All candidates will begin with an intense study of English for a minimum of 12 weeks before beginning their actual flight training. After 14-16 months they will be able to work at Air Astana airlines in the position of first officer.

    Air Astana airline will cover 100% of the total value of costs for education, but 50 % will be dedicated from their salary after cadets start working in Air Astana. Air Astana will provide pilots with a decent wage, which would allow them to make the payments without any difficulties. In addition, the airline is taking all measures to improve social conditions of their employees: it provides annual increases of wages and offers employees a good social package.

    In the future, possibilities exist for training in Kazakhstan. Air Astana and CAPT have signed a nonbinding Letter Of Intent to examine the feasibility of a school in Almaty, Kazakhstan run by CAPT under the exact syllabus as the American school. Discussions will be ongoing and details will be developed as both parties grow together in this new training relationship.

    Air Astana is the full-fledged member of the association of IATA and the only airline in Kazakhstan, certified for the execution of the maintenance of air vessels in the European standards EASA/part 145.
    Air Astana JSC - the joint enterprise of JS Company “Sovereign Wealth Fund SamrukKazyna” and English company BAE System with 51% and 49% of actions respectively.
    Today the fleet of Air Astana airline consists of B767-300, B757-200, A321, A320, A319 and F50.