Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said his airline received 20,000 applications for 700 pilot jobs.
European startup Norse Atlantic Airways also received a large batch of applications for its pilot roles.
US airlines are not so lucky, with many struggling to recruit, forcing some planes to be grounded.
While there is an ongoing pilot shortage in the US, one Middle Eastern airline is not struggling to find qualified candidates.
In a meeting with reporters at the Farnborough Airshow in England on Monday, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the airline decided a few months ago that it wanted to hire 700 pilots, and got 20,000 applications.
He emphasized that all the applications were from individuals who were “qualified and type-rated,” meaning the pilots already had the necessary training and certification to fly a specific aircraft.
“They have to go through very a stringent testing facility before we select because we are very, very picky,” Al Baker said.
According to the CEO, the applications came from all over the world, minus the US, and that Qatar’s operation has not been impacted by staffing issues.
Qatar is not the only airline receiving thousands of applications for its pilot roles. In May, Norway-based Norse Atlantic Airways received 3,000 applicants for its first 50 pilot job openings, all of which were qualified candidates.
A Norse spokesperson told Insider at the time that the number was higher than expected and that pilots’ desire to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fueled the interest.
Airlines in the US have not been so lucky with their hiring pools, leading to a pilot shortage that is creating challenges for carriers and passengers. Companies like American Airlines and United Airlines have been forced to ground about 100 regional aircraft each due to not having enough pilots to fly them, which had also led to route cuts.
In an effort to find more crews, low-cost carrier Breeze Airways has sourced talent from Australia, while many regional airlines, like American Airlines’ wholly-owned carriers PSA, Envoy, and Piedmont, have increased their hourly pay to entice pilots to stay with the company longer.
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