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SAA’s Cadet Pilot Development Programme: The fact

Johannesburg, 17 August 2012. South African Airways (SAA) has taken note of a skewed report in a local (South African) newspaper on its Cadet Pilot Development Programme. SAA wishes to point out that the airline does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age and any other criteria.

SAA recruitment process – the true facts
SAA’s normal recruitment process allows for the employment of white male pilots as and when vacancies exist; particularly when no candidate is available from a previously disadvantaged background. Like all other South African companies, the airline is also required to meet statutory transformation targets. This means that in recruiting, the airline has to ensure that the demographics of its employees match closely those of the country as a whole. This is in line with the employment equity definition which includes white females.

SAA Cadet Pilot Development Programme
The SAA Cadet Pilot Development Programme is the airline’s initiative specifically designed to redress the very serious demographic and gender imbalance found within SAA’s pilot corps. Currently, 85% of SAA pilots are white of which 7.6% are white females. Moreover, 91% of white SAA pilots are male. This means that only 15% of SAA pilots are black i.e. Africans, Coloureds and Indians. This emphasises the need for SAA to align this intervention to its transformation strategy.

As such the current cadet pilot programme is very specifically aimed at individuals from previously disadvantaged backgrounds as part of a broader strategy to meet the airline’s transformation targets. Individuals from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, including white females, can take part in this programme, which aims to provide successful candidates with the prospect of obtaining a Commercial Pilot’s License. In case there is an insufficient number of candidates from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, SAA would then consider others.


SAA acknowledges that a multi-stage online application system put in place had an unintended consequence of excluding certain applications based on the category of applicants. Once that was noted, SAA acted swiftly and the situation was corrected.

In line with SAA’s transformation strategy which is informed by BB-BEE Aviation Sector Charter, when assessing all applications, SAA continues to give preference to previously disadvantaged groups i.e. Africans, Coloureds, Indians and white female.

Notes to editors:

About the SAA Cadet Pilot Development Programme
•    Qualifications (Matric with Maths and Science)
•    Good health (especially hearing and eyesight)
•    Proficiency in English.
•    The programme is medium to long term which spans over between 5 to 8 years.
•    The programme is designed to create a talent pool of pilots for South Africa’s airline industry as a whole.
•    This is in line with supporting the National Growth Path in support to the challenges experienced with respect to transformation in the pilot corps.
•    Participation into the programme does not guarantee employment at South African Airways. Upon completion of the training programme, candidates will have to follow SAA recruitment and selection processes in terms of permanent employment.

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For more information contact:

Kabelo Ledwaba
Communications Manager (External)
Email: kabeloledwaba@flysaa.com
Mobile: +27 (0)83 414 4720
Tel: +27 (0)11 978 2760

About SAA
South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 26 destinations across the continent, as well as major destinations within South Africa and internationally from its Johannesburg hub. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC). SAA CEO Siza Mzimela is the first woman to be appointed to the IATA Board of Governors in its 67 year history. Siza Mzimela is also the President of the African Airlines of Southern Africa (AFRAA). SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for ten consecutive years and the winner of ‘Service Excellence Africa’ for three consecutive years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on time airlines.

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