The government has committed to increasing the number of new local pilots this year by enhancing the registry system and expanding the facilities of existing aviation academies in order to keep up with the country’s growing aviation industry.
Transportation Deputy Minister Bambang Susantono said that Indonesian aviation schools were going to accept two batches of new students — one in each half of the year — in the near future so that more pilots could graduate each year.
“We are currently improving the curriculum and the new registry system because we want to be able to accept new students every semester, not only in the first half of the year, in the hope of having more pilots graduate,” Bambang said in Jakarta on Tuesday on the sidelines of the very first ASEAN Aviation Training and Education Summit.
By implementing the new method, he said that Indonesia could increase its capacity to produce pilots from 400 to 800 annually in the coming years.
Currently, some 400 pilots graduate every year from the state run Curug Aviation School in Banten, the Aviation Academy in East Java and 12 other smaller private schools, some of which are affiliated with local airlines. Meanwhile, the country needs up to 1,000 new pilots a year.
In addition to that, according to data from the ministry’s air transportation directorate general, the country has seen an average growth of only 5.21 percent in the number of pilots from 2008 to 2011, while passenger numbers grew by 15 percent annually during the same period.
“We need to better manage and improve our human resources to keep up with airlines’ expanding fleets and strengthen our position in the civil aviation international arena, because we are aiming to become a council member of the ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization] this year,” he said.
Indonesia reopened its office at the ICAO in Montreal, Canada in February last year to improve the country’s aviation sector and further strengthen its cooperation with the international body.
Indonesia used to have an office at the ICAO from 1962 to 2001 as it was a member of the ICAO council. However, when the country was not elected as a council member in 2011, the government shut down the office. From 2002 until today, Indonesia is one among the ICAO’s 190 members.
The government plans to work with the private sector and both domestic and foreign companies to manage new state-run aviation schools in Medan, North Sumatra and Makassar, South Sulawesi, which are expected to open this year.
The ministry’s human resources development (BPSDM) head, Bobby Mamahit, said that another breakthrough in overcoming the shortage in air traffic controllers was by accepting not only high school graduates but also older undergraduates.