Malindo Air is set to at least halve Malaysia’s problem of unemployed pilots. The country’s newest low-cost airline and its partner Lion Air will absorb all the 600-odd pilots who turned up for the walk-in interview at the KLIA yesterday. And they might take more with further interviews planned for today and tomorrow provided they meet all of the airlines’ requirements which include them passing entrance examinations and meeting DCA regulations.
They will be hired within a year. The timing is subject to availability of instructors and simulator. A flight simulator will be located in Kuala Lumpur by early next year
Malindo Air would take some of the pilots and the others would be absorbed by Indonesia’s Lion Air, that country’s largest privately-owned airline, controlling 50% of the domestic air market. Those hired will have to undertake an aircraft-type rating, and payment for the training would be through bank loans and other sources of funding.
Malaysia has 1,174 unemployed pilots, many of whom cannot repay the bank loans they took to obtain the commercial pilot licence which costs an average of RM250,000.
Malindo has given them a ray of hope. As Lion Air group grows, they would need more pilots. The Indonesian airlines have already ordered over 300 new aircraft to add to their present fleet of 75.
Lion Air and its group have the capacity to absorb more pilots over time because it now hires pilots from Europe and since Malaysia has unemployed pilots, they can now source them from here. Over 3,000 people attended the walk-in interview yesterday for positions of pilots, cabin crew, engineers and support staff.
Malindo Air has an office in KLIA and will begin flying from KLIA but when KLIA2 opens, it will move there. It will also have a secondary hub in KKIA.
Malindo will operate domestic operations first, beginning with flights from KLIA to either Sabah or Sarawak. It will use the B737-900ER aircraft which will take delivery of two aircraft each in March to May next year.
By mid-year it will have six aircraft and by end-2013, it will have 12. In 10 years, it plans to have 100 aircraft and employ 5,000 people in five years.
Lion Air Group’s boss is confident that his business model for Malindo Air will work because it has worked for Lion Air, which has 600 daily flights and carries 100,000 passengers in Indonesia. Malindo Air will be the international arm for Lion Air, which will feed traffic to Malindo Air. Feeder traffic is important in a competitive market place as no airline wants to fly half-filled aircraft at a time when jet fuel prices are rising.