The aviation community is angry Air New Zealand is looking offshore for its pilots.
A submission has been made by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the company to add "aeroplane pilot" on the Government's skill shortage list, making it easier to hire foreign pilots.
However, Phil Hooker, chief instructor at Bayflight International in Tauranga, said many qualified pilots dreamt of working for the airline.
"The country has got many eligible pilots right now who are trying to get into Air New Zealand who are forced to go overseas.
"There's a saying in New Zealand that it's easier to get into Nasa than into Air New Zealand."
A survey by the New Zealand Airline Pilots Association and the General Aviation Advocacy Group is gathering data to refute the national carrier's claims of a shortage.