Civil Aviation Authority hits back after shock claim there's ‘less desire’ to train pilots

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Pilots across the globe undergo “extensive training” and are “regularly checked and tested” insists the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, in response to shock claims by the UK’s flight safety committee. The CAA responded strongly to comments made by the head of the committee, Dai Whittingham, who suggested pressure to keep costs low had impacted how pilots were being taught. He told the BBC he thought the flight industry as a whole has “less desire to provide training”. He said: “Shareholders are squeezing airlines hard on costs.

“Spending on training fleets of captains and first officers is not necessarily welcome.”

He added of airline manufacturers: “They don’t want to sell aircraft that will incur a big training bill for the airline, it is in their interests to keep costs down.”

The trade group encompasses a wide spectrum of members from manufacturers, safety regulars as well as major airlines.

Dai stated to the broadcaster that should airline staff want more training, they needed to “argue” with finance teams to get the green light.

In response to the claims, a spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said to Express.co.uk: “Safety is our number one priority and the UK has one of the world’s safest aviation industries.

“Commercial pilots undergo extensive training and testing and once qualified continue to be regularly checked and tested.

“The requirements and standards for pilot training are set on a Europe-wide basis by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

“These exceed international requirements.”

The debate appears to have surfaced after a series of devastating airplane crashes of late.

These include a Lion Air flight in October, which came down in Indonesia and killed all 189 passengers.

More recently, the Boeing 737-Max Ethiopia Airlines flight 302 crashed, killing all 157 on board on March 10.

Meanwhile, Express.co.uk recently reported how pilots flying into London City Airport actually require specific, extra training qualifications to land at the east London runway.

Those in charge of aircraft landing in and out of the transport base face a particularly “demanding” challenge when touching down.

The Royal Docks airport operates to 48 destinations worldwide, with 12 airlines flying out of the terminal. Yet because of the steep incline on the approach and on landing, as well as the 1,199m runway and high buildings in the area, those handling a plane need to take extra care.

British Airways Senior Training Captain Mike Pickard has spoken exclusively to Express.co.uk about his specific credentials which allow this to happen.

He said: “London City Airport has special requirements to allow a pilot to operate into and out of.

“Once pilots have completed their conversion training, they are required to then have further simulator training for the steep approach, short take off and landing.

“The Captains then progress to aircraft training to practice landing at London City.”

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