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Dragonair cadet pilots graduate from first ‘Multi-Crew Pilot’s Licence’ programme in Hong Kong

29 Nov 2013

(HONG KONG) Twelve Dragonair cadet pilots from Hong Kong’s first Multi-crew Pilot’s Licence (MPL) programme were honoured at a graduation ceremony today. The ceremony took place at the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD) Headquarters and was officiated by Captain Peter Sanderson, Dragonair’s General Manager Operations, and Mr Norman Lo Shung-man, Director-General of Civil Aviation.

Dragonair has been at the forefront of pilot training in Hong Kong for close to three decades.  It was the first local airline to launch its own cadet pilot recruitment and training programme back in the 1980s, and in 2011 it introduced the MPL programme - the first of its kind in Hong Kong - in partnership with CAE Oxford Aviation Academy (OAA) and with the formal approval of the HKCAD. 

The 12 graduates went through a comprehensive training programme which started off with a ground school training module in Hong Kong, followed by flying training at the CAE/OAA training school in Melbourne. The cadets then returned to Hong Kong to undergo simulator flying training before receiving their wings and embarking on an exciting new career.

Commending the graduates on their achievement, Captain Sanderson said: “You should rightfully feel a great sense of pride at what you have achieved, both individually and collectively. The MPL training you have gone through takes advantage of a modern approach to better equip pilots to handle the new generation of modern jet aircraft that we operate. MPL applies the ‘train like you fly’ philosophy, where pilots are trained to operate as part of an airline crew right from the beginning of the programme.”

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Mr Norman Lo said: “I would like to congratulate all the graduates for successfully completing this pioneering MPL programme.  Being one of those selected to go through this very demanding pilot training programme, you have also made yourselves as part of the aviation history in Hong Kong.  Throughout the course, you have acquired the professional aeronautical knowledge as well as all the competencies of a professional pilot in multi-crew aircraft through a new set of training methodologies.”

MPL was approved by ICAO in 2006 as an effective new way to train airline pilots. The training programme focuses on the core competencies required by pilots of modern jet airplanes, emphasising the multi-crew operation aspect from the outset. MPL provides airlines with the opportunity to train people directly for co-pilot duties.

Another focus of the programme is on the interpersonal skills and attitude, specifically in the areas of communication, leadership, teamwork, workload management, situational awareness and structured decision making, that an airline pilot will require throughout his or her career.

Preparations for the introduction of MPL took more than a year and involved three parties working closely together: Dragonair as the airline operator, HKCAD as the regulatory body and CAE/OAA as the flying training organisation.

“I would like to express my thanks to my team who helped evolve this vision,” said Captain Sanderson. “Thanks also to HKCAD for their patience and hard work putting all the rules and regulations in place, and to CAE/OAA for the significant input in the development stages.  Without all this great effort by different parties, Hong Kong’s first MPL course would not have become a reality.”