MIDDLE EAST AIRLINES LURE FIJI PILOTS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 1) - The growing number of airlines in the Middle East and the lucrative wages offered is luring pilots from Fiji.

Fiji's national carrier, Air Pacific, so far has lost 13 pilots.

However, Air Pacific managing director John Campbell expects most of them to return after gaining "substantial financial privilege."

"The pilots earn US$9,000 tax free per month with free house, free school, free medical and travel to Fiji," says Campbell. "Their contracts are renewable every year and I believe many will stay there for three years and return (with a lot of cash)."

To fill the void, Air Pacific has hired 10 more pilots this year and has also upgraded second officers on its 747 aircrafts to first officers in the 737s.

The number of airlines in the Middle East is growing at a remarkable pace but there are not enough pilots in the region.

Also because of security concerns, the airline operators are scouring the world for non-U.S. pilots.

June 2, 2005

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