ZAMBIA currently only has 83 commercial pilots, 89 licensed aircraft maintenance engineers and 103 licensed cabin attendants.
National Airline Project consultants say for about 20 years now, there has not been any serious pilot training at the Zambia Air Services Training Institute (ZASTI) in Lusaka.
National Airline Project lead consultant Weston Mapani called for the re-equipping of the ZASTI to effectively train pilots in Zambia and change the current situation.
He said since the demise of Zambia Airways, there had not been any serious pilot training at ZASTI because of various challenges like lack of equipment, spares for aircraft and inadequate infrastructure.
Mr Mapani said this had resulted into a huge gap between the young and older generations of pilots in the country.
He said this recently at the Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) public discussion forum dubbed the ‘Re-flotation of Zambia Airways:
Lessons from the past and reflections on the future’ in Lusaka.
Mr Mapani said Zambia currently had 83 commercial pilots, 89 licensed aircraft maintenance engineers and 103 licensed cabin attendants.
He said out of 83 registered Zambian pilots, 22.89 per cent were over the age of 60 years whereas 37.35 per cent were between 51 and 60 years.
“The flying school and the aircraft maintenance school at ZASTI should be leased to the national airline so as to re-equip the two schools.
“Since the demise of Zambia Airways 20 years ago, there has not been any serious pilot training at ZASTI owing to various challenges such as lack of equipment, spares for aircraft and inadequate infrastructure,” he said.
Currently, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations are such that a commercial pilot can only fly up to the age of 65 years.
Mr Mapani said in addition, a captain or pilot-in-command on a commercial flight that was above 60 years should fly with a co-pilot below the age of 60.
He said there was need to train young pilots to take over from the aging ones, saying that there was a serious shortage of pilots worldwide.
If steps are not taken to train young pilots, Zambia could end up with serious shortage of flight crew which could lead to cancellations of some flights and schedules.