South African Airways recruits Argentinean pilots

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- South African Airways has recruited 24 Argentinean pilots on a temporary contract to relieve its crew who are undergoing an intensive "conversion" training to fly Boeing 737-800 planes.
SAA Chief Executive Officer Andre Viljoen said Wednesday that the conversion training would take about four weeks, but the relief crew would work with the airline for about eight months.
"In the interests of flight safety, SAA, like most other international carriers, trains its pilots to fly only one type of aircraft at any particular time.
"During this transition period and to allow for the rapid expansion on the domestic and regional routes, SAA has found it necessary to employ contract crew to operate some of its domestic schedules", Viljoen said.
The Argentinean pilots began work Wednesday.
Viljoen said the pilots are highly experienced, with some having flown an average of more than 9,000 hours each.
All have considerable experience on the Boeing 737-200.
SAA has been slowly replacing its ageing planes with the new Boeing 737-800.
Since February 2000 the airline has phased out 16 short and medium range aircraft and introduced 21 new generation 737-800 to its domestic fleet "At the same time the domestic and regional market expanded considerably.
To meet this demand for additional seats, SAA had to increase its frequency of flights to certain destinations," Viljoen said.

01 august 2001 19:09:00

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