Cathay Pacific launches recruitment drive

Hong Kong’s home carrier is looking to recruit and train more than 800 local cadet pilots by 2025

Cathay Pacific HK by Matt Driskill
(PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

Cathay Pacific is relaunching its Cadet Pilot training programme in a new collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) that aims to further enhance Hong Kong’s reputation as a leading centre for aviation training in Asia.

The first batch of 24 candidates starting the integrated course in Hong Kong are scheduled to commence flight training in October after they have completed the ground theory portion of the programme. In addition to running the new integrated courses at PolyU, Cathay Pacific will also conduct four additional training courses based upon the original programme module in Adelaide, in 2022. The next batch of 24 candidates are due to commence the Adelaide programme course in late April. Cathay Pacific is about to onboard the first of its fully trained and qualified cadets who were unable to join the airline in 2020 due to the pandemic. The airline expects to onboard all 150 such cadets throughout the remainder of 2022.

Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Cathay Pacific is confident in the development and long-term future of Hong Kong as a premier aviation hub. The airline’s Flight Operations department has been forward planning and reviewing its resources in preparation for the recovery in the aviation market. Together with PolyU, the airline has developed a new integrated pilot training course that offers young people in Hong Kong professional pilot training while also creating job opportunities for instructors and trainers as well as other indirect roles in the local market. The airline’s original Cadet Pilot programme was suspended in March 2020 due to the emergence of COVID-19. 

The 55-60 week training course is structured so that candidates will undergo their ground theory lectures under the auspices of PolyU in Hong Kong. Successful candidates will then commence flight training in either Adelaide, Australia or Phoenix in the USA before returning to Cathay City for multi-crew simulator training. 

The partnership between Cathay Pacific and PolyU will greatly expand the number of cadets that can be trained under the Cadet Pilot programme each year. The airline aims to welcome about 190 candidates in 2022, and will have the capacity to take in between 240 and 300 per year from 2023 to 2025. This compares to around 180 cadets trained in 2019. Since the inception of the Cadet Pilot programme in 1988, the airline has trained more than 1,000 cadet pilots from Hong Kong. 

Chief Operations and Service Delivery Officer Greg Hughes said: “We are delighted to be recommencing our Cadet Pilot programme, and also to be launching these exciting new integrated courses thanks to the support and expertise of PolyU and its professional instructors. We would also like to thank the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) for its guidance and support for the development of the new training programme.”

The Dean of Faculty of Engineering at PolyU, Ir Professor H.C. Man said: “PolyU is glad that the collaboration with Cathay Pacific in the Cadet Pilot training programme will provide opportunities to our younger generation to realise their dreams of becoming a commercial pilot. We are confident that such joint effort will further strengthen Hong Kong’s position as an international aviation centre.”

Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) is the current cadet training provider for Cathay Pacific and has supported the Cadet Pilot programme since 1994. Chief Executive Officer/Director Pine Pienaar said: “FTA is proud to continue its long and successful training partnership with Cathay Pacific and is excited to be part of the new combined training solution that involves PolyU, FTA and Cathay Pacific. Relationships are key in ensuring quality and affordable training outcomes in the modern age.”

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