Within the vastly expanding Asian aviation market and increasing pilot shortage, Chinese airlines are trying hard to attract qualified pilots. For instance, the salaries offered here for foreign pilots can be over 2,5 times bigger. With this in mind, China might appear as the new golden destination of every pilot’s career. But what about cultural perks that should be taken into account? Hong Kong Fly Bridge Aviation Service, a Shanghai (China) - headquartered company that specializes in supplying pilots for Chinese airlines, outlines some of the cultural differences that pilots working in China encounter.

How much the work culture differs among different regions (e.g. Europe vs. Middle East, United States vs. China, etc.)? 

As we have discussed with our pilots from different regions who are currently flying in the mainland of China, there are two cases:

1. Working conditions. Europe and the United States have better working conditions when it comes to democratic attitude and free will of their employees. These regions have implemented the Just Culture in which the employee won't be punished for any misbehavior or mistake unless it is proven that it was deliberate. Whereas in Middle East and China, the punishment culture is somehow more prominent and employees would probably not feel so much at ease at work.

2. Technical part. Everything that concerns the way airspace is structured and how air traffic control manages traffic in China is comparatively different than in other parts of the world. Weather is an issue in many parts of the globe, but it is easier avoided because air traffic control is willing to grant any flight crews’ request for weather avoidance. In China, this seems not always happen, which could probably put an extra pressure on flight crews that are not used to it. Moreover, duty times are longer than what they are used to due to delays coming from airspace restrictions.

Hong Kong Fly Bridge Aviation Service is a Shanghai (China) - headquartered company that specializes in supplying pilots for Chinese airlines

What are the areas where interests of airlines and interests of pilots “clash” the most often?

Generally, we would like to say Salary and Rosters.

But among other concerns pilots have, work culture also counts, especially for those who are willing to bring family along.

True or false: there is no shortage of pilots, there is only shortage of pilots willing to work for the salaries offered. Why?

False. There is shortage of pilots, especially the lack of well experienced captains.

In the past years, civil aviation in China has been growing in a fast speed: 10% increase every year, airlines growing bigger, new companies being established, more and more aircraft coming, etc.

In China, the gap of pilots per year is around 5,000. And the ones that most Chinese airlines urgently need are well experienced pilots. What's more, the average salary offered here for foreign captains is approximately 2.5 times bigger than abroad, as we have researched. But even in this case, the current recruitment situation is still not fulfilling the needs of airlines. 

What are the three main traits airlines are looking for in a pilot?

 1. Ability for fast learning and acquiring new knowledge.

 2. Adaptive capacity: to new culture, new environment, new life, etc.

 3. Loyalty and Modesty.


Meet Hong Kong Fly Bridge Aviation Service at the upcoming Pilot Career Show in Amsterdam on May 10th, 2018. Aiming to provide current and aspiring aviators with the opportunity to meet their peers, share career advice, experiences and to learn the dos and don’ts of building a career in aviation, the event is expecting over 300 attendees and 12 hiring aviation companies.

For more information and entrance pass please visit https://www.pilotcareershow.com/