Business Essentials for Professionals


Chinese Airlines Target Troubled Cathay Pilots Who Now Face A Pay Cut

Chinese Airlines Target Troubled Cathay Pilots Who Now Face A Pay Cut
The Chinese airline industry is expanding exponentially and to fill up vacancies for experienced captains, Chinese airlines have targeted disaffected pilots at Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways and is luring them with sky-high salaries.
There are predictions that the airline industry in China is poised to take off as there is enhanced prosperity in the world’s second-largest economy, forecasts by planemaker Boeing Co indicate that there would be requirement for more than 100,000 new pilots during the next two decades for companies like China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and Juneyao Airlines.
The sharp growth of the Chinese airline industry means that it is now facing a shortage of captains who possess several thousand hours flying experience and according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), training of around 4700 new pilots a year at home and abroad is conducted.
“Chinese airlines are growing so quickly, and ... it takes a lot of time to become a captain,” said Xu Dandi, head of recruitment at Yu Feng Consulting, whose clients include China Southern and Loong Air. “Pilots hired in Hong Kong have likely passed strict assessments ... and have experience flying in Asia.”
Cathey Pacific had recently terminated the services of 600 employees in what is its biggest round of staff cuts in almost 20 years and pilot recruitment companies are now crowding the Hong Kong market with the hope of attracting the established pilots from the loss-making airline Cathay.
The housing allowances of pilots of Cathy are set to be cut from next month, which can be as high as HK$100,000 (£9621.38) a month, even though the company has not yet fired any of its 2,500 pilots who are based in Hong Kong.
The cuts as planned by Cathey could leave the pilots unable to survive in Hong Kong which is one of the costliest cities of the world, fear the pilots of the airlines who are amongst the highest experienced and paid pilots in the world. many of the pilots are Australians, Americans and Briton expatriates.
“Most expat pilots will have a serious re-think ... if the (housing) allowance is cut too drastically,” said a pilot interviewed by the media.
According to job ads, tax-free yearly pay packages of up to $314,000 is being offered by some of the Chinese airlines. That is almost the same as the present gross pay for the Cathey pilots not including the proposed pay cuts. Cathey is also seeking to reduce pensions and enhance productivity.
Pilots are scoured by recruitment agencies globally for Chinese airlines. The problems of Cathey has made Hong Kong a target even though the city was not on the target list earlier for recruiters.
Before abruptly cancelling a road show in Hong Kong last month, Longreach Aviation Resources reportedly has said that as many as 200 Cathey pilots have inquired with them. Earlier this week, 9 Cathey pilots were recruited by Wasinc International, another recruiter, on the very first day of a road show and due to interests shown by mainland Chinese airlines, Yu Feng Consulting said it also intends to hold similar road shows to attract pilots.
“We watch for airlines that are having difficulties. Cathay has always been very strong and now they’re downgrading their pay a little, a lot of their pilots are worried,” Wasinc CEO Dave Ross said. “(Cathay pilots) have a reputation for being high-quality pilots, so a lot of airlines are interested in them.”
Cathey has been prone to its pilots being targeted by other rival carriers, said Cathay Pacific Chief Operations and Service Delivery Officer Greg Hughes.
“For 30-40 years, people have targeted our pilots and we don’t expect that to let up,” he told Reuters. “People like working for us, and our (staff) turnover rates are low.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc