Hi there. I have worked at MAS (Malaysian Airlines) for the past 11 years. I am Malay and was selected for the MAS Cadet Pilot AB-INITIO Program in 1994. A group of us cadets then completed all of our initial Pilot Licences and Flight Training at BAE Systems Flight Training in Adelaide, Australia over a 10 month period.
We then came back to KL and underwent further training in house with Malaysian Airlines. A few months later, I was lucky to be place on and then trained on the Boeing B737-300/400/500. These Classic B737s are excellent airplanes to fly. Our routes on the B737 basically linked KL ith all of the major centres within 3 hours flying time; throughout South East Asia.
Two years later my seniority allowed me to move up to the Airbus A330-300 widebody, which was a brand new airplane in our fleet, and state of the art technologically. The A330 also has a lot of range and allowed me to fly as far as Australia, the Middle East, India, and Japan.
Three and a half good years flying the Airbus A330, and again my seniority gains allowed me to move up and this time I accepted a spot on the Queen of the Fleet and the Queen of the Skies - the Boeing B747-400 Widebody! What an awesome airplane, and also an incredible view taxiing from way up in our office/cockpit.
I have been flying the B747 all over the world for the past 6 years. The range on this aircraft is staggering, and because of this long range, the cockpit is equipped with a Bunk Sleeping Room with 2 beds and a door for privacy. We use these beds for proper sleeps and rest on our flights over 8 hours - which happens to be most of them.
Our destinations on the B744 are excellent. My favorite places to fly into and out of are London Heathrow and LAX (Los Angeles). My favorite destinations to visit and spend a 2 day layover are Buenos Aires (Argentina), Cape Town (South Africa), Los Angeles (USA), and Vancouver (Canada). Unfortunately we no longer fly to YVR Vancouver!
Our rosters on the B747 are quite good - mostly due to the long flying times between KL and our destinations. Because the flights are mostly over 12 hours, we get good layover times once we reach the destination - usually 48 hours or longer in the hotel. 48 hours is a perfect amount of time for some rest and some exploring. When we return home to KL, the flight again is usually over 10 or 12 hours and we will receive atleast 2 days off at home to recover and get ready for our next journey. So all in all the rostering system at MAS is good and healthy.
Because of the long range of the B744, most of our flights involve two sets of crews - meaning 2 Captains and 2 First Officers. One crew usually operates the first half of the flight, and the second the latter part of the flight.
Becoming a MAS Pilot, and a B747 Pilot, was a dream come true for me. I highly recommend the MAS Cadet Pilot Program for any Malay or Malaysian citizens interested in aviation. I also recommend MAS as a great place to work and fly for experienced pilots - both Malaysian and expats now (they are hiring).
Over the last year or so, many of our experienced First Officers, and some Captains, have opted to leave and take on positions at the growing Middle Eastern airlines like Etihad, Qatar, and Emirates. For that reason, MAS now has a bit of a shortage of experienced pilots and will most likely be recruiting expats to fill the void over the next few years.
I hope you found this helpful. Good luck in your career, and reach for the skies!
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