Overseas student pilots fill training spaces Kiwis can’t afford

Last weekend newly qualified commercial pilot Nhut? Truong? Minh? flew home to Vietnam, another product of our growing pilot export market.

His class of 26 at the International Aviation Academy of New Zealand in Christchurch included trainees from India, Bangladesh and Hong Kong, a pattern repeated at many of the country’s larger flying schools.

Nadia Nicholls, one of nine Kiwis in Nhut’s contingent, will invest $100,000-plus gaining her commercial pilot’s licence (CPL) and becoming an instructor, with the eventual aim of flying for an airline.

The 24-year-old former bank teller secured one of the limited number of student loans available annually for pilot training, but she still had to front up with about $18,000 and is grateful she had some personal savings to help cover her fees.
It bothers Nicholls that other young New Zealanders keen to pursue an aviation career are deterred by the cost because job prospects have never looked brighter.
19/08/18 Amanda Cropp/Stuff

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