SAA trains 40 future pilots

The South African Airways (SAA) said yesterday it has admitted 40 young South Africans who will start the exciting journey towards earning their wings.

SAA said it has completed the selection process of candidates who will be part of SAA’s Cadet Pilot Development Programme. The training to become qualified commercial pilots begins on Monday, 10 June 2013 with 14 months of theoretical and practical training which will enable them to get a ‘frozen’ ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License). This will be followed by approximately three years of internship.

SAA said the final 40 candidates fall under the category of previously disadvantaged individuals (African, Coloured, Indian, White female) as defined in the Employment Equity Act. It is important to note this in the context of the current reality and measures that need to be taken. The cadet programme is the airline’s effort to transform not only its own but also the country’s flight deck community which is nowhere close to reflecting the country’s demographics.

“As a state-owned company, SAA is pleased to make this announcement during the Youth Month when the airline reflects on initiatives that focus on the country’s youth in order to empower them to acquire scarce and critical skills required in aviation. The Cadet Pilot Development Programme is but one of these initiatives,” said SAA spokesperson Mr. Tlali Tlali.

For its 2012 intake, SAA received 5 278 applications of which 271 were shortlisted and moved on to the next phase of the selection process resulting in the selection of 40 young South Africans to participate in SAA’s Cadet Pilot Development Programme.

“It is important to ensure that there is transformation across all disciplines in the company. At the moment, SAA’s flight deck crew is not reflective of South Africa’s race and gender demographics. It is thus evident that SAA and other local aviation operators need to take steps that will redress the demographically skewed work force and to ensure the advancement of the previously disadvantaged,” said Tlali.

SAA’s transformation strategy is informed by the BBBEE Aviation Sector Charter. In the case of this particular programme, when assessing all applications, SAA is obliged to give preference to previously disadvantaged groups.

“SAA is always guided by the South African Constitution and constantly endeavours to operate within the framework of the law,” said Tlali.

Statistics relating to final recruits:                         


African Male African Female Coloured Male Coloured Female Indian Male Indian Female White Female TOTAL
10 4 9 1 7 2 7 40



“The pool of future pilots who will be developed through this programme will not be of service to SAA alone but to other domestic airlines as well. Notwithstanding, enrolment into this program does not guarantee future employment for the candidates by SAA,” said Tlali.

The 2013/2014 Cadet Pilot Development Programme intake will begin soon with the selection process likely to commence in August 2013.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *