EUROPE: Jade Cargo hit by lack of pilots

Shenzhen-based Jade Cargo international had been forced to ground one brand new B747-400ERF due to severe pilot shortage. This was confi rmed by the carrier’s VP sales and marketing, Reto Hunziker at a recent press meeting held by the members of the Lufthansa Cargo group in Munich. “We hope to overcome this unexpected problem soon […]


Shenzhen-based Jade Cargo international had been forced to ground one brand new B747-400ERF due to severe pilot shortage. This was confi rmed by the carrier’s VP sales and marketing, Reto Hunziker at a recent press meeting held by the members of the Lufthansa Cargo group in Munich. “We hope to overcome this unexpected problem soon and get the freighter airborne by August or September latest,” Hunziker stated ina separate interview with Payload Asia.

According to the manager, around 50 pilots are presently listed on Jade’s payroll. The airline however, needs as many as 65 to 70 captains and fi rst offi cers to operate all four B747-400ERFs that have been delivered by Boeing up to now out of a total order of six aircraft. The lack of cockpit personnel has been caused by a number of reasons. One severe problem is the absence of adequate simulators for the B747-400ERF at Chinese civil aviation facilities. According to local sources there is an extremely limited number of simulators that can be utilised for training sessions. Consequently, candidates have to stand in line to obtain a slot forgetting practical instructions.

The situation is worsened by the fact that only two instructors have the offi cial authorisation to license any new 747-400ERF cockpit crew member. Since China’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC) demands special training programmes from all candidates that enroll for operating a Chinese registered aircraft, regardless if foreign pilots have already obtained a valid license for the B747-400ERF elsewhere, a bottleneck situation has been created costing airlineslike Jade money.