LCQ7: Secondment of CAD staff to airlines for training

     Following is a question by the Hon Lee Cheuk-yan and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Yau Shing-mu, in the Legislative Council today (June 20):


     At present, professional qualifications in the aviation industry are required for appointment to some professional grades in the Civil Aviation Department ("CAD"), e.g. some CAD staff are required to obtain a professional pilot's licence ("licence") or licences of higher levels.  To obtain licences of higher levels, candidates are required to accumulate certain hours of flying.  As CAD currently lacks the relevant aeronautical facilities, CAD staff are seconded to local airlines for training and accumulating working experience.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council :

(a) of the posts under the establishment of CAD at present which require secondment of the post holders to local airlines for training to enable them to obtain the professional qualifications required; and the levels of professional qualifications they may obtain upon completion of such training;

(b) of the total number of CAD staff seconded to local airlines for training in the past 10 years, together with details including the name of the airline to which each staff member had been seconded, the duration of each secondment, the post taken up by each staff member during the secondment in the airline concerned, the post taken up upon reversion to CAD and the career advancement afterwards;

(c) of the respective number of training places provided by each local airline to CAD in the past 10 years, as well as the criteria adopted by the authorities in selecting such airlines;

(d) whether the seconded staff are employees of CAD or the airlines concerned during the training period, and if they are entitled to the salary and benefits provided by the airlines; and

(e) whether the seconded staff will handle matters relating to the airlines which provided training for them after they revert to work at CAD; if they will, of the mechanism put in place by the authorities to avoid conflict of interest or roles and ensure that the staff concerned will handle the matters impartially?



(a) Under the current establishment of the Civil Aviation Department (CAD), operations inspectors must possess a professional flight crew licence and relevant flying experience.  In general, CAD recruits qualified operations inspectors via open recruitment exercises.  However, as personnel with the required qualification are in high demand in the aviation industry, the Department will, when necessary, arrange serving operations officers or senior operations officer, who hold a professional flight crew licence and are suitably experienced, to be seconded to local airlines for training and achieving the relevant flying experience, so that they can perform the duties of an operations inspector in future.

     Should CAD staff pass the relevant tests upon completion of flying training, they would be granted the corresponding Aircraft Rating and Instrument Rating.  Holders of these two qualifications may operate specific types of aircraft, and navigate the aircraft by using the appropriate flight instrument.

(b) In the last decade, CAD seconded a total of four operations officers or senior operations officers to airlines to perform co-pilot duties.  Details are as follows:

Secondment Periods               Airlines
August 2001 to          Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.
September 2002

October 2002 to        Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd.
November 2003

November 2003          Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd.
to August 2004

September 2005           Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.
to March 2007

     After the secondment, these officers resumed their respective duties as operations officers or senior operations officers at CAD.  As with all other CAD staff, their promotion are administered in accordance with the procedures and principles set out in the Civil Service Regulations (CSR), i.e. selection by integrity, competency and experience, etc.

(c) CAD does not have a prescribed quota with local airlines for the secondment of CAD staff for training.  When there is a justified need for making such secondment arrangement, CAD would liaise with individual local airlines.  Genrally speaking, any local airlines who are holders of an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) issued by CAD may be invited to partake in a secondment scheme.

(d) Prior to arranging a secondment, CAD's scheme must be approved by the Civil Service Bureau.  The secondee for flying training with the airlines will remain as a civil servant, whose salary and benefits are paid and provided by CAD.

(e) Operations inspectors are mainly responsible for assessing the qualifications of AOC applicants and the oversight of the operations of local airlines which are holders of the said Certificate and Hong Kong registered aircraft.  CAD has established a rigorous mechanism for the issue of AOC and surveillance of holders of the said Certificate and operation of Hong Kong registered aircraft.  Relevant CAD staff must adhere to the applicable laws, the procedures laid down by CAD and the CSR when discharging their duties.  In addition, every task is subject to counter-checks by different CAD officers of various ranks to ensure work is handled in an impartial and proper way.  Therefore, upon the return of the staff from the secondment programme to CAD, there will not be any conflict of interest with the airlines concerned.

Ends/Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:01