Israeli national airline El Al plans to launch a new scheme under which it will carry out pilot training in the US.

“Like everyone, we’re suffering from a lack of personnel,” El Al MD-North Europe Oranit Beit Halahmy Amir said in London Feb. 16.

Traditionally, El Al has sourced a large percentage of pilots from the Israeli Defense Forces, but a combination of factors—including earlier retirements and fewer working hours—mean the carrier plans to increase its supply of flight deck crew from elsewhere.

El Al will be part of a joint venture with a US flight training school. Candidates, who must for security reasons be Israeli citizens, will initially undergo a strict screening process in Israel that will be devised by El Al.

Those who complete a theoretical stage of training will undertake the bulk of the course in the US. More details are forthcoming, Amir said, but the project should be under way by the end of February.

Alan Dron