Training delays force Nordica to continue partial outsourcing of flight crews

A Bombardier CRJ900 regional jet in Nordica livery. (Nordica)
By Liisu Lass
5/24/2016 12:59 PM
Category: Business

Due to to delays in the training process for its pilots, not all of Nordica’s planes are yet staffed with its own crews, which means the airline must continue to outsource services in order to meet its needs.

Keeping yet-untrained pilots on the payroll while also paying for outsourced crews means double the expenditures for the airline, reported ETV’s nightly news broadcast “Aktuaalne kaamera.”

Nordica currently has six planes, of which two are permanently leased out and flying in other countries. Of the four planes in Estonia, only three at most can fly daily, as there are currently not enough trained pilots available to operate all four planes, which means Nordica is forced to outsource a portion of its flights to other airlines.

According to information known to “Aktuaalne kaamera,” Nordica canceled two flights in mid-May precisely because they did not have crews for the flights.

Nordica CEO Jaan Tamm noted that some twenty or so pilots are currently being trained, while another twenty or so are already trained and flying, but the latter are also involved in the training process for the former.

Nordica’s training process for its pilots takes approximately three months to complete. After thorough health and background checks, pilots must also complete simulator training as well as the airline’s own training.

Scheduled flight training is carried out by instructors, who fly scheduled flights daily. Nordica claims that its training process has been dragged out because its own captains are constantly in the air.

Tamm noted that more than half of the pilots currently working for Nordica came over directly from the bankrupt Estonian Air, but they have also had to complete training specific to the types of aircraft Nordica flies, as well as the new airline’s own training, and until they had enough captains and pilots of their own, Nordica would have to continue outsourcing its crews in order to keep flying.

The CEO found, however, that while paying for outsourced crews while also keeping its partially-trained pilots on the payroll was expensive, such a situation was an inevitable and expected part of the process of establishing a new airline.

Nordica was founded under the name of Nordic Aviation Group in fall 2015, following the bankruptcy and liquidation of Estonia’s previous national carrier Estonian Air; operations began on November 8, and the airline’s current brand name was taken into commercial use in March 2016.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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