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Ep.182: Le compagnie aeree si preparano a ritornare alla normalità, ma ci sono abbastanza piloti?

A general view of Qantas planes at Brisbane domestic airport. Source: AAP

Le compagnie aeree australiane si stanno preparando a sostenere una maggiore richiesta, nel momento in cui i confine si riapriranno gradualmente. Ma un sindacato che rappresenta migliaia di piloti avverte che le compagnie potrebbero incontrare difficoltà a trovare abbastanza piloti.

SCARICA la trascrizione col testo a fronte in inglese.     

Italian

Con i confini internazionali che riapriranno a novembre e alcuni degli Stati e Territori che si preparano ad allentare le loro restrizioni ai confini una volta raggiunti gli obiettivi di vaccinazione, le compagnie aeree sono impegnate a prepararsi all’inevitabile aumento della richesta. 

Ma trovare abbastanza piloti in grado di tornare in cielo in tempi relativamente veloci in caso di un aumento improvviso della domanda potrebbe essere una sfida enorme. 

L’Australian Federation of Air Pilots è un sindacato e un'organizzazione professionale per piloti commerciali. 

La presidente dell’AFAP, la capitana Louise Pole, ha dichiarato che sono stati effettivamente lasciati a terra durante la pandemia circa 1000 piloti e che per riportarli di nuovo nei cieli ci vorranno diversi mesi. 

"If they haven't flown for 18 months they'll have to do some ground school which takes a few weeks and then simulator sessions, at least four sessions, sometimes more, depending on what they're going to be flying and then after they've completed their simulator checks the will need to go into an aeroplane and just practice being back online again so they don't have to be checked there. So it could take multiple months for a pilot to be ready to fly again if they haven't been flying at all which is the case for around about 1000 of our pilots."  

La capitana Pole sostiene che l’Australia potrebbe facilmente incontrare le stesse difficoltà che si sono verificate negli Stati Uniti durante il picco delle vacanze estive. 

Dopo aver ridotto le dimensioni della flotta e essersi liberati di migliaia di piloti e assistenti di volo, le compagnie statunitensi hanno dovuto cancellare migliaia di voli durante l’estate americana per via della carenza di staff e della domanda di voli più alta rispetto alle previsioni. 

"The American industry did get taken a bit by surprise that people actually did want to go flying and I think Australia, we are expecting demand to come back but I think if it comes back a lot stronger than anticipated that the airlines will be in a position that they won't be able to keep up with that demand." 

SBS News ha parlato con un pilota della Qantas che vuole rimanere anonimo e che ha dichiarato che ci vorrebbero da un minimo di tre mesi fino ad un massimo di sei per un pilota che non ha volato per più di 90 giorni per completare tutto l’addestramento necessario a permettergli di ritornare di nuovo in cielo. 

Ha anche sottolineato una mancanza di piloti che ha già influenzato le operazioni della Qantas ancor prima dell’inizio della pandemia. 

La capitana Pole dell’AFAP sostiene che la carenza di piloti in tutto il mondo rende ogni tipo di ripresa post-pandemia dell’aviazione a ustraliana ancora più difficoltosa.

"There is still forecast to be a worldwide shortage of pilots within the next two to three years commencing as Boeing and Airbus had forecast those prior to the pandemic. That has not gone away, all it's done is it's been stalled a little bit or slowed down, so the fact that we can see that coming is even more important in getting those 1000 pilots who want to come back to work back in the air and then also transition to getting the new pilots trained to be able to look after the shortage of pilots that will come in in a couple of year's time once the world returns to air travel in greater numbers."      

Virgin Australia sta introducendo nove ulteriori veivoli 737-800 da questo mese e ha annunciato di stare riassumendo almeno 130 piloti che erano entrati in esubero prima che la compagnia aerea accedesse all’amministrazione controllata. 

Qantas ha dichiarato di aver compreso fin dai primi momenti della pandemia che avrebbe dovuto ridisegnare il programma dei piloti. 

Ha aggiunto che oltre il 95 per cento dei piloti Qantas ritengono che il programma di ritorno al volo della compagnia gli abbia fornito le abilità e la sicurezza per ritornare al volo in maniera sicura ed efficiente.

English

With the international border due to re-open in November and some of the states and territories preparing to lift their border restrictions once vaccination targets are achieved, the airlines are busy preparing for the inevitable increase in demand. 

But finding enough pilots who are able to get back in the skies relatively quickly if there's a surge in demand could be a major challenge. 

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots is a union and professional body for commercial pilots. 

The President of the AFAP, Captain Louise Pole, says around 1,000 pilots have effectively been grounded during the pandemic and getting them back in the air would take several months.      

"If they haven't flown for 18 months they'll have to do some ground school which takes a few weeks and then simulator sessions, at least four sessions, sometimes more, depending on what they're going to be flying and then after they've completed their simulator checks the will need to go into an aeroplane and just practice being back online again so they don't have to be checked there. So it could take multiple months for a pilot to be ready to fly again if they haven't been flying at all which is the case for around about 1000 of our pilots."  

Captain Pole says Australia could easily face the same difficulties the United States just experienced during its peak summer holiday season. 

After reducing fleet sizes and getting rid of thousands of pilots and flight attendants, US carriers had to cancel thousands of flights during the American summer due to staff shortages and higher than forecast demand for seats.     

"The American industry did get taken a bit by surprise that people actually did want to go flying and I think Australia, we are expecting demand to come back but I think if it comes back a lot stronger than anticipated that the airlines will be in a position that they won't be able to keep up with that demand." 

SBS News spoke to a Qantas pilot who didn't want to be identified and he says it would take a minimum of three months and up to six months for a pilot who had not flown for more than 90 days to do all the necessary training to enable them to get back in the skies. 

He also highlighted a pilot shortage which he says had already affected Qantas operations even before the onset of the pandemic. 

Captain Pole from the AFAP says a worldwide pilot shortage just makes any post pandemic recovery of Australian aviation even more challenging. 

"There is still forecast to be a worldwide shortage of pilots within the next two to three years commencing as Boeing and Airbus had forecast those prior to the pandemic. That has not gone away, all it's done is it's been stalled a little bit or slowed down, so the fact that we can see that coming is even more important in getting those 1000 pilots who want to come back to work back in the air and then also transition to getting the new pilots trained to be able to look after the shortage of pilots that will come in in a couple of year's time once the world returns to air travel in greater numbers."      

Virgin Australia is introducing nine additional 737-800 aircraft from this month and says it's re-hiring at least 130 pilots that were made redundant prior to the airline entering administration.

Qantas says it recognised very early in the pandemic that it needed to redesign its program for pilots.

It says over 95 per cent of Qantas pilots feel the airline's return to work program has given them the skills and confidence to return to safe and efficient flying.  

Report by Greg Dyett 

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