Being a pilot isn’t so glamorous anymore

Once a dream job, the role of captain or first officer of the skies is now far more automated and routine, says AirAsia HR chief.
By: | November 14, 2019

Many of us dreamed about becoming pilots when were grew up. But sadly taking the hotseat in the cockpit is no longer exciting. In fact, it’s more about automation and data.

So the dilemma facing low-cost airline AirAsia is how to recruit new pilots for its expanding network. Varun Bhatia, Chief People & Culture Officer at AirAsia, said: ‘’Millennials don’t want to be pilots. They might want to travel but they don’t want to be tied down to one career. The younger generation want more variety. So we are asking ourselves where to find people passionate about being pilots.’’

Lots of roles are becoming more technology-driven within airlines, including pilots and cabin crew. ‘’A big part of the job involves data and taking signals from the data and reacting. There’s also not much need for innovation on a day-to-day basis.’’

It takes about three years to train to become a pilot via a flying school, with the right educational background, which represents ‘’a huge investment in time and money.’’

AirAsia is going through a major digital transformation and is continuing to reshape the organisation and business model across four pillars – the airline, digital and commercial ventures, its corporate VC and its shared services.

The Malaysian airline is on a huge hiring spree and has taken on about 3,500 people so far this year. As part of its digital transformation, it has been recruiting cybersecurity, software and big data talent. It’s currently looking for digital marketing experts.