2 Feb 2005

Pilot shortage disrupts Air Pacific flights

7:21 am on 2 February 2005

A shortage of pilots at Fiji's national airline AIR PACIFIC has disrupted several international flights, leaving more than 500 passengers stranded.

Two flights to Sydney last weekend were cancelled while another to Canada was delayed till the next day when some pilots reported sick.

The Fiji Times reports that the airline's chief executive, John Campbell, has confirmed that over the last three weeks, nine local pilots had resigned, seven of them pilots for the new generation Boeing 737-800 jets.

Mr Campbell says the airline expects more resignations soon, but will take on two more expatriate pilots to add to its list of 22 foreign pilots to replace locals.

Air Pacific pilots are leaving to take up higher paying jobs in the Middle East.