Shortage of 737 pilots forces Qantas to switch to 747s on Domestic routes

July 5, 2018

Shortage of Pilots forces Qantas to fly its ageing Boeing 747s on some of its domestic routes starting 30 July 2018. The airline will be replacing some of the routes run by 737s with larger Boeing 747s and Airbus A330 planes. 


Boeing 747s will fly four flights a day between Sydney and Perth to cover some of 737 flights, starting from July 30th. The airline felt the shortage of 737 pilots, when it introduced 14 Boeing 787 Dreamliners on a long-haul routes, as most of the pilots trained to fly 787 came from 737s.


The Qantas find it hard to meet the pilots demand for its workhorse 737s, even its training sessions are running at maximum capacity. 


According to Sydney Herald, around 600 pilots capable of flying 737s have reached their maximum allowable flight time of 1000 hours within a rolling 12-month period, that limits Qantas’ rostering options. “The 737 fleet has also been put under further pressure by Qantas moving some of its larger A330s off domestic services and onto flights to New Zealand to make-up capacity after its alliance partner Emirates dropped trans-Tasman services in March.”


Airline sources say many of its 600 or so 737 pilots have reached their maximum allowable flight time of 1000 hours within a rolling 12-month period, which has further limited Qantas’ rostering options.


Since it take a long time to become a well trained pilot, the Qantas has asked the state Governments to set up new pilot training schools to meet the demand. Qantas also plans to open its own flying school by the end of 2019 to produce at least 100 pilots a year. 


Analysts estimate the global airline industry needs more than 640,000 more pilots over the next 20 years – 40 per cent of them in the Asia Pacific region.

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