Real Answers from Real Pilots

Asian Routes and age

Good morning,

I am mainly interested in working for an Asian airline. Would the same age limitations of not being able to work for a major at 50 years old still apply?

I’ve seen many articles about the great demand for pilots in Asian and I am still single and willing to travel and live out of the country as I had for the last three years.

One article said China Airlines will pay for expatriate taxes while you live in Beijing for one month and the next month you have off. Is this true or not or just a “story”?

Just curious.

Michael

Michael,

You don’t say anything about your current experience so I’ll assume you have none? The thing about moving to a Major at 50 is basically you have limited years left and the Majors don’t see you as a good investment but there are no formal policies against it. Many Asian carriers, while definitely short on pilots actual have restrictions against pilots 50-53 (it ranges but they’ll actually state in their requirements must be under 50). While they are looking and recruiting aggressively for expat pilots and will offer some VERY attractive terms (month to month and a half off is not uncommon), if you visit the recruiting sites they are only looking for type rated pilots in specific equipment WITH time in those aircraft. I’m afraid if you’re just starting out Asia (at least for now) isn’t going to happen.

Adam

Adam,

Thanks for the response. I’m 47 1/2 years and have my private license, so just starting. Discouraging to hear your response but better now than 1,500 hours from now.

I don’t need to be a captain. Even FO would be good enough.

Michael

For others who may be interested here is a link to Chinese airlines. I like 21 days on and 10 off.

http://www.chinaaviationrecruitment.com

It still may work for me if I can get those hours. Is it possible to get those hours in 8 years, Adam?

Michael,

If you read the link they’re not looking for FOs, it’s Capts they need. It also shows the majority of those positions require PIC (aka Capt time) in large aircraft and that’s why they have a problem. If you’ve got Boeing or Airbus PIC time that means you’re flying for a Major. While the pay they’re offering is good, salaries have come up considerably over the last couple of years so if I am a Boeing or Airbus Capt at a US Major, why would I want to pack and move to China?

If that’s truly your goal I recommend after you complete your training and build your 1500hrs you look for an airline that flies EMB190’s and hope for a fast upgrade. IF you can do that and IF Tianjin is still flying and looking for EMB190 Capts you’ve got a chance. Otherwise I really don’t see how you could train and get your 1500hrs (2yrs so you’re 50), fly as a Regional FO for an optimistic 3yrs (you’re 53), upgrade and fly for another min 2yrs as a Capt (you’re 55 so you’re not going to a Major), maybe get hired by Spirit or Allegiant to get some baby Bus time but again you’re talking 4-5yrs to upgrade and another to build the 1000hrs PIC in type and you’re 60 and done. Make sense?

I’m actually really familiar with this subject as I seriously considered going to China when I was downgraded and have a few friends there now. I also have no idea about your health but the Asian medical exams make ours look like a joke. Your BMI must be low (I believe < 28?) and no high BP, or any other fairly common ailments. Just FYI.

Adam

Adam

Adam,

thanks, I didn’t understand the hours. I thought it was total time.

I get it now. They pay wasn’t at the top of of the list, either. More the
21 days on and 10 days off.

It sound like at my age, I’ll never fly for a major. Correct?

Michael.

Adam,

If the chances are that I won’t fly for a major airline, what is the biggest aircraft I could expect to fly?

What is the difference between a regional and major airline?

Thanks

Michael

Michael,

I really don’t see where you have time to fly for a major airline. I don’t mean to be a dream crusher, but want to be honest with you.

The biggest airplane you could expect to fly is an Embraer 170, but it could end up being something smaller.

There are several technical definitions, but the bottom line is that a major airline flies under its own name, like “United” while a regional airline is a seperate company that flies under the major’s banner, such as “ExpressJet Airlines doing business as United Express”.

Chris

Michael,

As I said there are no hard age limits aside from the FAA’s mandatory retirement at 65. If you start now you’ll be at a Regional by 50. The Majors want turbine PIC (just like the Asian carriers do) and again that means Regional Capt. Upgrade times are anywhere from 3-5 years plus at least a year or 2 to build that Capt PIC so we’re looking at you being anywhere from 55-57. It costs a considerable amount of time to train a pilot so for a Major to invest in someone with a 8-10yr shelf-life simply isn’t good business. Aside from that even if you could would you really want to go back to the bottom of a seniority list with a lousy schedule etc? Personally I wouldn’t. The differences between a Regional and a Major are basically higher pay, larger aircraft and the opportunity to fly Worldwide. The largest aircraft the Regionals are currently flying are 90 seat Embraer and CRJs.

I had a dream to fly for a particular Major (Hawaiian) and was very fortunate to make that dream an reality. That said I have to tell you. Before coming here I was a senior Capt at ExpressJet making good money (just over $100k) with a great schedule flying all across North America. I was very happy and honestly if I hadn’t/couldn’t get to a Major I’d still have the greatest job on the planet and still have been a happy guy. I just wouldn’t have as good a tan :slight_smile:

Adam

Chris,

Thanks for the honesty.

It still looks fun to fly but probably not what I am looking for in terms
of lifestyle.

Michael

Adam,

I am glad you have a good sense of humor and your experience sounds pretty
good.

I will give it some thought.

Thanks guys for helping me out.

I really appreciate it.