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Training for Tomorrow

Special Report - SafetyForecast growth for the industry still centers on an average 5% per year. In recent years, airlines have put in record orders for new aircraft, in part to cope with this expected increase. It adds up to a requirement for more pilots and engineers.

The first task for any improved training programs is to encourage enough recruits to ensure the industry can grow safely.

“Improving training from a safety perspective and making it more attractive to new generations is the goal of the IATA Training and Qualification Initiative (ITQI),” says Guenther Matschnigg, IATA Senior Vice President for Safety, Operations, and Infrastructure. ITQI was launched in 2007 to modernize training and ensure it accurately reflects the needs of current and future flight deck operational procedures. For example, the multi-crew pilot licence, which concentrates on the core competencies of pilots in a modern aircraft, gives new pilots relevant training and gets them in the cockpit faster than previous ab-initio methodology by increasing the usage of flight simulation training devices.

IATA focuses not only on ab-initio training but also on recurrent training. Pilot training has been conducted in much the same way for the past 50 years and it is time to change. Evidence‑based training, as promoted by IATA, ensures that the right skills and competencies of pilots are being developed by adapting training requirements based on evidence such as lessons learned from previous incidents and accidents. “We need to train skills that are missing and not keep repeating those that are already there,” says Matschnigg.

A lot of work remains to be done, however, and workforce numbers will remain in the spotlight for the foreseeable future.

The harmonization of training requirements and the permeability of licenses are also under scrutiny. There are still big differences between Europe and the United States as well as other idiosyncratic requirements around the world. The shift in aviation markets and potential shortfalls in pilots means that it is essential that a license valid in country A is applicable in country B. 

IATA continues to work closely with ICAO to resolve this matter. Proposals on how to standardize the various needs of countries are expected to be published next year.

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