Flight Training News: Should Younger Pilots Go To China?

Over the last several months, China has been seen quite a bit in the world of aviation; from the purchase of Cirrus by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft to the massive demand for pilots in Asia, there is much to be discussed.

After the recent pilot recruitment fair down in Miami, we have all seen how serious the Chinese airlines are about hiring pilots from the U.S.  Airlines like Shenzhen Airlines, Spring Airlines and Air China are offering salaries that are as much as 70% higher than salaries here in America.  Along with higher wages comes the promise for accelerated upward mobility. Opportunity for advancement and the chance to jump from the right seat over to the left seems to be much greater for indviduals willing to move to place like Shanghai or Beijing. 

As we are all aware, for a new student coming out of a flight training school here in the U.S., they may have to wait over 15 years to fly the aircraft they desire because the system in the commercial airline business is setup on tenure.  The more seniority you have obviously the more options and potential for advancement. In China I found it interesting to find out, according to theChina Daily, airlines like Spring Air are more interested in hiring younger pilots in their 30’s being that the mandatory retirement age in China is still 60.  That means that there is a need to hire younger pilots who want to move up through the ranks to help meet some of the demand of the larger aircrafts.  This hiring practice is just another example of how China has consistently been focused on long term solutions for their country.  

Now the point I want to make is that a student coming out of Flight Training school with enough hours to become a commercial pilot (or close to it) under their belt, may want to seriously consider the Chinese airlines as a viable option.  Clearly the aviation industry is not going to be slowing down anytime in the near future over in Asia, and good young pilots are in high demand.  With the opportunity to make a higher salary, the chance for accelerated advancement in relation to the U.S. and an opportunity to gain some international experience sounds like a good enough reason to at least ask the question; "Can I see myself flying in Asia?"

As someone who has lived in China for 6 months I can tell you that the need for aviation and transportation is growing as fast as the middle class, which is going to open up a wealth of opportunities as the industry matures.