December 2009 | Cathay Pacific’s ‘I Can Fly’ program is dedicated to teaching young people between 15 and 18 years old, and who are interested in aviation, the basics of the industry at no cost. ‘I Can Fly’ was launched in 2003 and every other year, several courses are organized, with 3,000 ‘students’ participating to date in Hong Kong. The carrier has just announced the fourth ‘I Can Fly’ series, which will start in February 2010. Hong Kong youth can apply until 25th December of this year, and 100 participants will be selected.
Enrolling in the ‘I Can Fly’ program is by no means a free ride. The course runs for nine weeks, with once-a-week nightly classes, and includes airport visits, one weekend of community service, and workshops with staff from Cathay’s engineering, flight control, marketing and catering departments, as well as pilots and cabin crew. As part of Cathay’s community program, Cathay Pacific staff volunteer their time to the course.
Earlier this year, Cathay also introduced the ‘I Can Fly’ program in San Francisco and Vancouver, running 8-week courses in February, September and October with 12 to 15 selected high-school students each time. In Vancouver, the program was heavily oversubscribed after it was promoted to members of Cathay’s Marco Polo Club loyalty program to share with their families and friends.
Cathay Pacific says its purpose with the program is to offer young adults the opportunity to step behind the scenes of commercial aviation to learn if it is the right career path for their future, because “some careers are obvious, such as pilots and cabin crew, while others are behind the scenes, such as engineering and catering.”