Plans are underway that may compel Indonesian pilots to spend a minimum of 10 years working for their employers as a repayment for the cost of company-paid flight training.
The bonding program would mandate that pilots graduating from the Indonesian Aviation Academy (STPI) in Curug, West Java work for their sponsoring airline for at least ten years before being allowed to seek employment elsewhere.
As explained by Dedi Dharmawan, the Chief of Education and Training at the Indonesian Department of Civil Aviation: "Such a service bond will hopefully help Indonesian airlines overcome the difficulty of recruiting quality pilots. Many of them (pilots) now choose to work overseas or for airlines that pay them more. In the end the airline they leave suffers the consequences."
Speaking to NusaBali, Dharmawan said the proposed service bond proposes criminal penalties for pilots who leave their employment before their service bond period expires.
Current estimates are that Indonesia has 4,500 licensed commercial pilots working at the controls of 450 planes. The Nation's currently booming aviation sector creates a demand for 400 new aviators each year, a figure expected to grow due to the large number of new aircraft currently on the order books of Indonesian airlines.
The STPI only produces some 200 new pilots each year with 20 of those retained by the academy to work as instructors. The cost of a commercial aviators course at STPI is between US$35,000-US$60,000 per pilot, a cost that will be borne by the employing airline under the new bonding scheme.
Garuda Indonesia, Merpati Nusantara and Lion Air are reported to be among the Indonesian air carriers preparing to pay schooling costs in return for a 10 year service bond.
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