Global thinking obstructed by parliament

A Gulf Air airplane taking off

What’s wrong with Bahrainis – be they with current jobs or jobless – seeking employment and further career advancement elsewhere in the world?

A whole lot, according to those in the Bahrainis parliament:

Bahrain’s ailing national carrier Gulf Air may be forced to hire 100 unemployed Bahraini pilots despite plans to slash its heacount by as much as 1,800 as part of a proposed US$492m government bailout deal, it was reported.
A parliamentary committee has asked MPs to agree to a new proposal to hire unemployed local pilots, despite a plan to try and reduce losses at the national carrier, said Gulf Daily News.
“We don’t want to see those qualified Bahraini pilots moving elsewhere either to regional or foreign competitors because then we would have lost loyal Bahrainis, spent money unnecessarily on training them and allowed our competitors a marginal cutting edge,” parliament’s legislative and legal affairs committee chairman MP Ali Al Ateesh was quoted as saying. []

Is it only me that sees only an emotional rather than a rational objection here? What is Gulf Air going to do with an extra 100 inexperienced pilots when they’re in dire straits and cutting many hundreds of jobs as a step to cope with its situation? Other than directly affecting the safety of its passengers that is?

This kind of thinking is dangerous. Those who find themselves in parliament here or in positions of power would be well advised to encourage Bahrainis to seek good jobs and career advancement where ever they find them, not sequester them into a parochial vision of hell just to ameliorate their own feelings of guilt – probably brought on from their active encouragement of firing those who took even mediocre parts in the ongoing pro-democracy activism.


  1. Geg

    Spot on mate. Emotional! I guess it is a typical of many an outburst without thought or research. One also wonders about the qualifications of other pilots too, when an airline is in dire straights, like other institutions, they look for those that will do the job for less. The expression; ‘Bahrain cannot afford to be professional’ is often heard and it stares us in the face with the intelligence level of labour and many general workers being recruited, just to make their employers richer.
    To make matters worse, Gulf Air (or someone for them) have been advertising for pilots within the last year and throwing qualification requirements out the window, asking only for ‘secondary education certificates’. That basically means: If you went to school, apply. It doesn’t bode well PR wise among the public when they read/see that. For say UK for example the equivalent of a maths ‘A’ level or two was a minimum requirement, but I don’t know now. But again, just because one has been to university, it doesn’t mean he or she will be a ‘seat of their ass’ pilot which is certainly what I want see up front and no doubt the public at large feel the same way.
    For sure some of the Bahraini pilots are quite adept, but law of averages and small population pool will dictate that the number will be few. To find one genius one needs a billion people. Of the Island’s inhabitants I know and that must be enough to sink the Titanic, I don’t know a single one who would support this in terms of safety. Bahrainis above all have a wonderfully poignant and Politically Incorrect way of expressing themselves in times of dire concern; like getting up and walking off a plane if they don’t trust the pilot – and Bahraini pilots at that. It happened before and obviously GF never learn.

  2. Steve the American

    Any money spent on training pilots is a sunk cost. It’s foolish to make decisions on money already spent. You must make your decisions on how much it will cost to get you to your goal.

    And really, the commercial world is awash in pilots at present. In America, they have little job security at all. Many experienced airline pilots have been furloughed and gone overseas for jobs.

    There are some hints that the pilot surplus may be ending though. There is talk of a pilot shortage in the future.

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