The past two years have seen many foreign pilots quit their jobs and head to China for much better deals. China has become an attraction to pilots thanks to lump sums it is willing to cough out in terms of salaries.
The East Asian country is currently experiencing a shortage of pilots and it’s therefore stopping at nothing to sign qualified pilots from abroad. It is waving up hefty paychecks and also actively scouting for experienced expat pilots.
A U.S. pilot recently told Bloomberg how Chinese airlines have been hounding him. The airlines have been willing to part with unimaginable amounts to have him flying their Airbus A320s. Regional carriers such as Qingdao Airlines and Sichuan Airlines were ready to pay him well over $300,000 a year. This amount by far outweighs the estimated $200,000 a year that senior pilots get at major U.S. airlines such as Delta.
The American pilot, who is currently on a break from flying, told the newsline that he will definitely consider the Chinese market when he resumes flying. He cited the lucrative pay as the basis of his decision.
Reasons for China’s shortage of pilots
China’s quickly growing economy is the major reason for the current shortage in pilots. Many people need to fly in and out of China for business purposes and the airlines cannot deal with this at their current level of staffing.
The Chinese aviation industry has also recorded massive growth in the last decade. According to data from Civil Aviation Industry Statistics Report, the number of airlines in China have increased by 28 percent in the past five years. China now boasts of 55 airlines. The total number of fleets has also risen 2,650. With such kind of unprecedented growth, the Chinese air travel industry has no option but to turn to other countries for pilots. The numbers are too high for the local pilots to cope with.
Massive recruitments and very lucrative deals
The Chinese airlines have numerous job opportunities for pilots. Recruiters who work on behalf of the airlines have revealed how most of the airlines instruct them to recruit as many pilots as they can.
The Chinese airlines offer qualified pilots the chance to land very lucrative deals. Some startup airlines offer up to five times what well known airlines like Delta and United are offering. The new airlines know that the only way they can attract the pilots is through money as they aren’t well known.
Most of the Chinese airlines pay pilots over $20,000 per month. There are even a few cases where a pilot is paid $80,000 monthly.
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