Secondary school pupils are being urged to consider a career in Hong Kong’s expanding aviation industry, as it faces a chronic manpower shortage. Airport officials are hoping to convince school leavers that the new Hong Kong International Aviation Academy offers a compelling alternative to university. The call comes as thousands of pupils will learn on Wednesday morning how they fared in the Diploma of Secondary Education university entrance exam. Space-starved Hong Kong airport squeezes in 7,000 extra flights a year Vivian Cheung, president of the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy and deputy director of the Airport Authority, said: “We want more young people to understand our industry, to like our industry and join our industry and this is our opportunity for young people to explore their future career.” Airport officials on Tuesday unveiled some of the new academy’s facilities, which include a basic flight simulator and air traffic management system. Cheung said the courses it offered had no minimum experience requirement and would put students in a better position than some university graduates pondering a career in aviation. Hong Kong Airlines launches pilot training programme Some 73,000 people work at the airport or support the local industry, but with a third runway being constructed, the number of jobs is set to grow into the hundreds of thousands. The low salaries of many labour-intensive jobs, which are critical to the operation of the airport, have been a repeated concern for the industry. Asked if the academy would help address the issue, Cheung said she was not convinced the industry “can solve the problem”. However, she cited an example of someone who began in an entry-level job and rose to her role as the airport’s deputy director.