CAAP: Philippines Becoming A Pilots’ Market

MANILA – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said on Tuesday that an exodus of over 150 Filipino pilots being recruited abroad to fly for foreign carriers could only imply “their proficiency and skills in handling jet engine aircraft.”

A case in point is Capt. Franklin Mallari Desiderio, formerly of PAL and now with Emirates, the first Filipino pilot certified to fly the largest passenger aircraft, an Airbus A380 double decker jumbo jet, that can seat more than 500 passengers.

CAAP Flight Service Inspectorate Service (FSIS) head Capt. Beda Badiola confirmed to journalists during the traditional Director General’s New Year Courtesy Call that Filipino pilots, especially pilots from flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), are being offered “hard to refuse salary” by foreign airlines although some of them still choose to stay with PAL out of loyalty.

The exodus of Filipino pilots started around 1998 and continues because of the high salary scales offered by other foreign airlines, especially from some Asian countries and even from Europe, Badiola added.

“We are ahead of some Asian countries because Filipinos understand and are proficient in English language, which is the medium of expression for pilots,” Badiola added.

Badiola remarked that Filipino pilots who work abroad tend to automatically have their Philippine licenses converted to be valid in the country they are serving.

Badiola, who is in charge of the aviation regulatory office that oversees licensing of flights and validation of license of pilots and crew, said that the planned opening of an Airbus Training center in the country will put the Philippines on aviation road map.