Friday, February 21, 2020

Thailand suffering from shortage of pilots for rainmaking efforts

Mar 01. 2016
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By THE NATION

THAILAND is suffering from a shortage of rainmaking pilots, as many have landed higher-paying jobs at commercial airlines, said Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation Department chief Lersak Riewtrakulpaiboon.
This has prompted the agency to analyse manpower and review salaries to boost job security and advancement for rainmaking pilots to prevent a worsening of the shortage, he said. 
“A rainmaking pilot is a profession that requires aviation expertise, sometimes even more so than commercial pilots because they fly the planes into the clouds which is more dangerous than flying away from the clouds as the commercial pilots do,” Lersak said. 
The department has 41 aircraft (34 planes and seven helicopters) but there are only 53 pilots. Lersak added that the department needed to add another 43 pilots.
Meanwhile, the manager of security at the Bangkok Aviation Centre, Nimit Khraikratok, said the school graduated 300 to 400 pilots per year to staff both domestic and international commercial flights. Given the phenomenal growth rate of the commercial aviation industry, that graduation rate was considered far too low. 
As Thailand joined the Asean Economic Community this year, there has been a goal to establish the country as a hub for international commercial flights, which could exacerbate the shortage of commercial pilots. 
Nimit said the situation could worsen in the next three to five years given the low number of new pilots entering the in-dustry, adding that a contributing factor was the high tuition fees of Bt2.5 million to Bt3 million. He recommended that state agencies get involved to address the pilot shortage.

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