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SA Express and SAA celebrate Youth Month by launching a collaborative effort to train young South Africans from previously disadvantaged backgrounds

MIDRAND,Johannesburg, Tuesday, 25 June 2013: South African Airways (SAA) and SA Express today announced a joint effort to train scores of young South Africans to become qualified commercial pilots.

The two state-owned airlines will pull together their resources to create a jointly managed and resourced national pilot training programme, paying for the trainees’ classroom tuition, practical training, flying time, accommodation, travel and other related expenses.
With a combined budget, SA Express and SAA want to ensure that trainees have access to highly qualified instructors, combining the very best of training methods, using purpose-built training facilities and state of the art aircraft that boast some of the best technology available in present day aviation.

SAA CEO Monwabisi Kalawe told attendants at this morning’s launch breakfast “As the national carrier and good corporate citizen, SAA is aligned with South Africa’s employment equity objectives to accelerate skills development, extending these exciting programmes to our youth. This is an excellent opportunity for Africa’s best airline to develop and empower our country’s youth.”

SA Express CEO Inati Ntshanga added: “We spent time looking at how best we could contribute towards the task of training much needed pilots for South Africa, and for our continent. This programme is going to make a huge impact in addressing the serious shortage of skills that we are seeing in the South African aviation industry. Although SA Express is far ahead when compared to the rest of the industry – we have 47 black pilots out of 255 – there’s a lot to be done still.”

According to the latest audited civil aviation statistics*, of the 26 022 aviation personnel licence holders South Africa had in 2012, only 2776 were African, 670 were Coloured, 553 were Indian whilst 17 346 were White. A further examination of those numbers revealed that a mere 1668 of those licence holders were African women, 383 of them were Coloured women, 238 were Indian women and 2169 were White women.

“Today I commend the two state-owned airlines, SA Express and SAA for demonstrating their catalytic ability in transforming an industry. It is of key importance that the aviation and aeronautical skills be encouraged as achievable career option to all sectors of our population. This event should inspire and instil a sense of immense possibilities that awaits all those young people in townships and villages throughout South Africa that they too can take to the skies and be ambassadors as Pilots that have been supported and encouraged by this Government.”

“Furthermore, as a Developmental State we will to continue to utilise the state owned companies to drive the State’s transformation agenda, wherein we will ensure that there is skills transfers, human development and job creation for the majority of South Africans,” said Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.

ENDS

* source: SA Civil Aviation Authority


For more information contact:

Dileseng Koetle
Head: Group Communication (SAA)
Tel:       +27 11 978 2298
Mobile:             +27 83 400 0041
Email:   DilesengKoetle@flysaa.com

Keitumetse Masike
Divisional Manager: Communications (SAX)
Tel:      +27 11 978 2540
Mobile: +27 71 882 9900
Email: kmasike@flyexpress.aero

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