Expatriate airline pilots in China now on unpaid leave

Published:  19 Feb at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Tagged: China, Jobs
Pilots working for Chinese airlines are seeking new jobs as demand stalls.

Expatriate pilots who’ve been placed on unpaid leave with no idea as to when they’ll be needed again are leaving for their home countries in addition to seeking other jobs. Demand for their services has collapsed after the ban on flights due to the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus took effect. Even Chinese pilots whose job security is far more solid are complaining their salaries have been slashed as they're mostly dependent on actual flying hours.

According to one data company, some 80 per cent of the scheduled airline capacity both in and to or from China has been drastically cut, with Chinese airlines the worst hit due to the numbers of countries who’ve closed their airports to flights from all across the the Chinese mainland since the threat from the virus began to grow. Pilots and experts in the sector believe major carriers including China Southern and Hainan Air acted fast to cover their financial backs as the virus continues its spread.

Non-Chinese pilots reporting the situation to Western media outlets are all insisting on anonymity, as none are authorised to take part in media interviews and many have now returned to their home countries. Expat salaries are typically higher than those paid to their Chinese equivalents, but foreign pilots work on contracts which leave them vulnerable when demand tanks.

At present, some 2,000 expat pilots are believed to be employed by Chinese airlines, with the country expected to need as many as 124,000 over the coming 20 years. Should expat pilots be forced to bear the brunt of the coronavirus episode by being placed on leave without pay, it’s anyone’s guess how many would want to work for the same companies in the future. In addition, the same applies to Western cabin crew, many of whom are in similar situations.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive