The Director-General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Willie Walsh, has observed that with the 1500-hour flight rule, there is a brain drain in Africa as it concerns qualified pilots.
According to Walsh, while Africa suffers brain drain, the United States of America enjoys brain gain as the country has greater in-migration of skilled pilots than out-migration.
Walsh pointed out that the rule has over time created a situation where highly qualified individuals leave their home region or country in search of better career prospects in the USA.
He however, noted that the 1500 hour rule does not exist outside of the ambits of the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and, therefore, not in the rest of the world.
The IATA DG equally noted that the situation had caused a huge pilot shortage in America, making the region attractive to qualified pilots across the world, including those from Africa.
Walsh, who revealed this while fielding questions from journalists during the virtual launch of “Focus Africa,” said, “The 1500-hour rule has caused a shortage of qualified pilots in the USA, not in Europe. It makes the country attractive. In Africa, it leads to a situation whereby talents leave the continent to other countries.”
Meanwhile, the 1500-hour rule is a stipulation on how long it takes to become a commercial pilot in the United States and Canada.
The rule is a law by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that requires all pilots in America/Canada to have at least 1500 hours of experience/flight time before being eligible to fly for a regional airline or major airline (such as FedEx, American Airlines, Delta, etc.). Whereas pilots in the rest of the world only need 250 hours.