Sun, Mar 07, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Local pilots ask permission to fly with Chinese airlines

CNA , TAIPEI

An association representing Taiwan's pilots has asked the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) to modify regulations to allow local pilots to fly for Chinese carriers, a situation which is currently forbidden.

Officials from the Chinese Pilots Association said that the aviation industry in China is expected to expand rapidly over the next 20 years, and the number of civilian airplanes will increase fourfold from the current 500 to 2,000. Job opportunities in China look quite promising, they added.

In comparison, the development of civil aviation in Taiwan has stalled, and pilots have to find employment in a very limited market, the officials said.

They pointed out that aviation is an international enterprise and that local pilots should not be confined to Taiwan, but must be allowed to branch out internationally.

Under the Statute Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例), local pilots are prohibited from working in China, association officials said.

They argued, however, that the nature of a pilot's work does not undermine national security or interests. The association, therefore, has applied to the CAA to devise a method by which Taiwan pilots could fly for Chinese carriers.

The CAA has yet to respond to the request, believing that anything involving cross-strait affairs must be treated with caution.

The association is in the process of determining how many Taiwan pilots are interested in working in China.

The association has distributed questionnaires to its members in this regard and the survey is expected to be completed by Wednesday.

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