Rex: Qantas and Virgin are 'plundering' our pilot pool

16 July, 2018

Regional Express (Rex) chief operating officer Neville Howell, via an open letter to customers, stated Virgin Australia and Qantas have conducted a "rapacious plundering" of the airline's pilot pool, with 56% of captains (78 individuals) and 17% of first officers (21 individuals) leaving the carrier in the last two years (Business Insider/The Advocate, 15-Jul-2018). Mr Howell said regional aviation in Australia has been "hardest hit" as "many local and international airlines actively poach pilots" from the airline, leaving it without a pool of standby pilots to deal with illnesses and other occurrences. As a result Qantas and Virgin are "causing widespread chaos and disruptions to regional air travel by their selfish and irresponsible actions" said Mr Howell. He added that the carrier's Australian Airline Pilot Academy has graduated 220 cadets for Rex, with 71% of the airline's First Officer ranks and 29% of its Captains being graduates.