For some time now aviation specialists from AviationCV.com have been observing the overwhelming increase in pilot demand from Asia, particularly China. It is an industry-wide belief that the emerging pilot markets in the East promise almost ideal job opportunities for skilful flight crew members. This conviction impels local markets elsewhere to find ways of filling in the cracks in their HR segment. However, the actual reality in some cases forces to ponder upon whether working in Asia is truly a dream job for pilots from around the world after all.
‘With some airlines in Europe and the USA gone bankrupt or experiencing serious financial difficulties, many pilots are looking to the East with the hope to find better working conditions as well as promotion opportunities. Moreover, many Asian air carriers are zealously promoting such opportunities by advertising their vacancies around the world. And in many cases it really pays off,’ commented the CEO of AviationCV.com Skaiste Knyzaite.
Promo campaigns as well as separate job ads from China-based airlines advertise really tempting opportunities. For instance, B737 captains are offered 3-year renewable contracts, with $15,000 – 17,000 monthly salaries, a total of $42,000 annual bonuses, as well as additional safety bonuses, transport and accommodation allowances, etc. Furthermore, in many cases a pilot is given the freedom to choose the most desirable roster. For example, working 11 months and having a month’s holiday leave for a higher salary, or working several weeks and enjoying several weeks off afterwards, but with a 15-35% lower pay.
However, the reality in some cases may be way grimmer than the offer in a job add or on a paper. For instance, some pilots are deprived of the opportunity to sign a firm 3-year contract. After arriving at the place, they are actually offered a one-year contract only with a possibility to prolong it afterwards. As a result, pilots are being left with a “Take it or leave it” option. Furthermore, though local authorities are constantly investing into the training of local aviation personnel, Aviation English still remains a prominent issue. This often leads to miscommunication between Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) and foreign pilots. As a result, a pilot may breach the altitude limit during the flight, which may easily be followed by a $10,000 - $12,000 fine from the employee.
‘Some of the local Chinese carriers have very strict penalty systems, which may easily diminish all pilot’s bonuses. Moreover, pilots who are willing to relocate on their own risk ending up with unfavourable contracts and more drastic conditions with each year. Some pilots may be even forced to pay for their entire retraining should they fail any training event. Moreover, pilots opting to relocate independently are often unaware of all possible accommodation solutions offered by an employee and are sometimes even forced to personally search and pay for better living conditions. Luckily, such situation is not a rule for the industry. We have been working with various carriers around the world and may ensure that there are a lot of trustworthy employers in the Asian-Pacific region. Some of our pilots are successfully working there for some time now and there were no serious complains from either employers or employees. The issue is that pilots shouldn’t take the risk of moving to a completely unfamiliar country on their own,’ concludes Skaiste Knyzaite.