Chinese airlines seek elite foreign pilots

Updated: 2012-02-29 15:03


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China's leading airlines are eager to headhunt elite foreign pilots from the US to meet their growing demand as the industry gains momentum, according to inside information from Wasinc International Ltd.

"It will effectively mitigate the pressure of the short-handed situation, as the appetite for veteran pilots from the domestic airline industry is growing ever faster," said an insider from a corporation that wishes not to be named. "And the timing is perfect. All we do is absorb the layoffs from the gloomy airline business in the US."

American airlines have been desperate to shave off staff, pinning on to mergers and acquisitions during the economic downturn. Wasinc International, the bellwether of pilot recruiting companies in China, noted that more than ten airlines have joined the hunting activity in the US, which started Feb 20.

To date, three large-scale job fairs have been held in Miami and Las Vegas, attracting more than 1,000 applicants to fill in around 200 posts in China's airlines, according to the American Broadcasting Company.

"Recruiting foreign elites entails as much as 30 percent more in pay compared to hiring domestic green hands," said an industry analyst. "But it is worth a shot. The cost will obviously be offset by shorter training process and excellent language edges especially for some international airlines."

The number of pilots in China is expected to increase from 24,000 to 40,000 by 2015, according to the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) for Civil Aviation Development issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.