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40 Young South Africans Begin Training Through SAA’s Cadet Pilot Development Programme

Johannesburg, 10 June 2013. Forty (40) young South African men and women are set to start the exciting journey towards earning their wings. This follows an announcement by South African Airways (SAA) that it has completed the selection process of candidates who will be part of SAA’s Cadet Pilot Development Programme. Their training to become qualified commercial pilots begins on Monday, 10 June 2013 with 14 months of theoretical and practical training which will enable them to get a ‘frozen’ ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License). This will be followed by approximately three years of internship.


The final 40 candidates fall under the category of previously disadvantaged individuals (African, Coloured, Indian, White female) as defined in the Employment Equity Act. It is important to note this in the context of the current reality and measures that need to be taken. The cadet programme is the airline’s effort to transform not only its own but also the country’s flight deck community which is nowhere close to reflecting the country’s demographics.


“As a state-owned company, SAA is pleased to make this announcement during the Youth Month when the airline reflects on initiatives that focus on the country’s youth in order to empower them to acquire scarce and critical skills required in aviation. The Cadet Pilot Development Programme is but one of these initiatives,” said SAA spokesperson Mr. Tlali Tlali.


For its 2012 intake, SAA received 5 278 applications of which 271 were shortlisted and moved on to the next phase of the selection process resulting in the selection of 40 young South Africans to participate in SAA’s Cadet Pilot Development Programme. 


“It is important to ensure that there is transformation across all disciplines in the company. At the moment, SAA’s flight deck crew is not reflective of South Africa’s race and gender demographics. It is thus evident that SAA and other local aviation operators need to take steps that will redress the demographically skewed work force and to ensure the advancement of the previously disadvantaged,” Tlali elaborated.   


SAA’s transformation strategy is informed by the BBBEE Aviation Sector Charter. In the case of this particular programme, when assessing all applications, SAA is obliged to give preference to previously disadvantaged groups.


“SAA is always guided by the South African Constitution and constantly endeavours to operate within the framework of the law,” added Tlali.


Statistics relating to final recruits:                                    


African Male

African Female

Coloured Male

Coloured Female

Indian Male

Indian Female

White Female
























“The pool of future pilots who will be developed through this programme will not be of service to SAA alone but to other domestic airlines as well. Notwithstanding, enrolment into this program does not guarantee future employment for the candidates by SAA,” said Tlali. 


The 2013/2014 Cadet Pilot Development Programme intake will begin soon with the selection process likely to commence in August 2013.


- ENDS -


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 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.


For more information contact:

SAA Group Corporate Affairs


Tlali Tlali

Executive: Group Corporate Affairs

Tel: +27 11 978 3819

Mobile: +27 82 333 3880



Kabelo Ledwaba

Communication Manager (External)

Tel: +27 11 978 2760

Mobile: +27 83 414 4720





Twitter: @flysaa