Asman Abnur, Indonesian Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister, said a total of 654 foreign airplane pilots currently work in Indonesia. This is a relatively high figure compared to the 7,150 Indonesian pilots as it implies that 8.4 percent of all pilots in Indonesia are foreign. The use of foreign pilots is allowed by the Indonesian government since 2008.
At the Indonesian State Aviation School (STPI) in Tangerang (West Java) Abnur said Indonesia's aviation sector has become an attractive opportunity for foreign pilots, while Indonesian pilots often remain unemployed after completing their education.
In order to strengthen their competitiveness, Abnur advises young Indonesian pilots to develop other skills outside the basic aviation training. This would put them in a better position while facing increased competition from foreign pilots in the aftermath of the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Moreover, technology in the aviation industry is developing rapidly and therefore knowledge obtained at school may be outdated after a couple of years.
Closely following such developments and gain more knowledge about technological and digital developments would be a good solution for Indonesian pilots and make them more attractive for airlines. Meanwhile, it is also crucial to master the English language.
It is estimated that there are around 770,000 flights in Indonesia per year (more than 2,000 per day). Air travel is the most efficient solution for traveling significant distances in the world's biggest archipelago.