Cathay Pacific graduates first group of cadet pilots since pandemic

A group of 19 graduate Cathay Pacific cadet pilots.
Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s leading airline, recently celebrated the graduation of its first group of cadet pilots since the pandemic.

These 19 graduates, who successfully completed the rigorous 55-week Cadet Pilot Training Programme, will join Cathay Pacific as Second Officers from July.

The graduation ceremony, held at Cathay City headquarters, was graced by the presence of esteemed guests, including Secretary for Transport and Logistics Mr Lam Sai-hung and Assistant Director-General of Civil Aviation (Flight Standards) Ms Clara Wong.

In his address, Secretary Lam Sai-hung expressed the government’s commitment to promoting localisation by encouraging local airlines to invest in the training of cadet pilots.

Recognizing the importance of nurturing local aviation talent, he commended Cathay Pacific for its continuous efforts in this area. He emphasized that enlarging the pool of local aviation talent is vital for the sustainable development of Hong Kong’s aviation industry.

Lavinia Lau, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer of Cathay Pacific, highlighted the airline’s longstanding dedication to developing aviation talent.

She praised the Cadet Pilot Training Programme for its success in cultivating outstanding pilots and reaffirmed Cathay Pacific’s commitment to nurturing future aviation professionals.


Lau expressed her gratitude to the Transport and Logistics Bureau and Civil Aviation Department for their unwavering support throughout the pandemic.

35th Anniversary of Cadet Programme

The Cadet Graduation Ceremony held special significance as it coincided with the 35th anniversary of Cathay Pacific’s Cadet Pilot Training Programme.

Lau extended her heartfelt congratulations to the graduating cadet pilots, acknowledging their hard work and determination during their training, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Cathay Pacific takes pride in its Cadet Pilot Training Programme, with over 1,000 of its pilots being graduates of the program. Among them, 185 are Captains, including more than 40 Training Captains, and seven management pilots.

Demonstrating the airline’s commitment to developing aviation talent, Cathay Pacific aims to recruit over 800 cadet pilots in 2023 and 2024, in addition to the approximately 250 cadet pilots recruited in 2022.

Current training courses

The airline currently runs two parallel courses for training cadets. The recent group of 19 graduates completed their training activities under Cathay Pacific’s original programme, hosted by Flight Training Adelaide (FTA).

To further enhance training opportunities, Cathay Pacific introduced a new integrated course in collaboration with Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and its in-house Cathay Academy.

The first batch of cadets enrolled in the integrated program is expected to graduate in August this year.

This comprehensive course includes theoretical ground training in Hong Kong, flight training at AeroGuard Flight Training Center in Arizona or FTA in Adelaide, and multi-crew simulator training at Cathay City.

In 2023, a total of 177 cadet pilots are anticipated to graduate from both programs, contributing to the continual growth of Cathay Pacific’s pilot workforce.

With its unwavering commitment to developing aviation talent and nurturing future professionals, Cathay Pacific remains at the forefront of Hong Kong’s aviation industry.


Cathay Pacific’s recent graduation ceremony marked an important milestone in the airline’s ongoing commitment to developing aviation talent.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Cadet Pilot Training Programme continues to produce exceptional pilots who contribute to the success and growth of Hong Kong’s aviation industry.

Through collaborations with esteemed institutions and the dedication of its own in-house academy, Cathay Pacific ensures that it maintains a strong pipeline of skilled cadet pilots for the future.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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