View Full Version : World Wide Commuting contracts

7th Nov 2011, 08:47
Met up with some old chums currently looking for Asian commuting contracts. They have all looked at VAC ( with their 6/2, 5/3 and 4/4 gigs ), KAL ( 3/1.5 ), AI ( 6/2. 5/3 ) etc. All seemed to think that the Korean commuting contract to be the best around except that many couldn't stand the hostile atmosphere, punishment culture, endless checkrides etc.

I wonder, what's wrong with all the pilot recruitment agencies with other airlines with better environments than KAL....they can easily convince their customer airlines of the desirability and workability of the Korean type commuting contracts. Mind you, I heard that KAL was and is still able to accommodate crew from far flung places ( from Seoul ) like Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, and South Africa.

Are agencies just too powerless and meek to make for a win win case for their customer airlines, pilots and themselves?:ugh:

7th Nov 2011, 10:02
It won't change as long as people accept, & show up for, what is on offer. Flightglobal has 20 ads a day, every day, for India. The impression one gets is that they cannot get/retain people.
The local astronaut medical probably accounts for a few, but I would wager that a roster of 8 wks on 2 wks off, or 10 on 3 off, is possibly the major detriment that they so far choose not to address.
Not so long ago it was 6/2 but they obviously thought they could push harder.

20 years ago contracts like this could be 1mth on1mth off, try finding that nowadays, apart from Arik (who pay months late & only recently changed from 2/1 to 1/1) & Zimex.
Normal stay home folk sell 40 hrs of their life a week, home based pilot sometimes more, but these nomadic contracts are a p1sstake.
Even if you don't work every hour of every day you are gone, you are nonetheless selling them 6 wks/ 8 weeks of YOUR LIFE ! stuck somewhere you probably certainly don't want to be, for no more money than someone working from home.
We are absolute mugs , that we have allowed these contracts to deteriorate to such an extent, only ourselves to blame.

9th Nov 2011, 23:37
Pilot Agencies are never pro active; they just accept whatever is dished out by the airline recruitment offices and then lay it out to pilots whilst all the time proclaiming that they are working very hard to get the best deal for you. Some of the agencies are one person or 2 person shows with some " fly by night, hide by day " office set ups in some dodgy tax havens.

Foe good deals, go for direct hire companies like EK, EY, CX and QR.

Blue-Footed Boobie
10th Nov 2011, 02:40
Sigma are offering a 10 week on 2 week deal to fly the Q400 in India.. hardly a commuting contract! Full time with 2 weeks leave every 2.5 months.

Look out for the stampede.

10th Nov 2011, 06:55
I agree with all the above , the airlines are desperate and their hardheaded approach has pushed them into a corner which they are struggling to move from .
This is getting us all nowhere . I am just over 60 now , current NG LTC , looking for something with a little more time off and happy to be paid accordingly . Nada !
Serve them right I say , I know of at least one who are cancelling flights due lack of skippers . I offered to do 8 weeks on 4 weeks off , not interested but they do insist on 10 / 4 !! So flexible .
I am now sitting on my butt by the Mediterranean when I could be out there helping train the next generation . Does not make sense , but when last were airline managers seen to be acting sensibly ?

10th Nov 2011, 11:23
One thing is flying a 777 OUT of India but a Q400 IN India???
Have you not done enough flying in 3rd world countries at the start of your careers??

10th Nov 2011, 19:58
I had done almost 15 Years commuting jobs. 9 day on, 6 days off. Then 5 days on, 5 days off. Lost alot of time between base and south of France.

Then the 20/10 patterns for a few years followed by a 10 days on and 5 days off at home again. Was suitable for me and the life style.

Whenever I looked for something else in between I heared the same excuses as everybody else: 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off where offered out of India: I allways replied that this is not for me. The People who told me how desperate they are and that they have to cancel flights because of lack of Crews are not hurt enough. If there is somone else up with a 20 days at work and 10 days at home schedule he will be the winner.

Everything longer then 28 days away from home is cruel except: You hate the Wife and the Family is like hell for you.

I have seen many guys suffering who where on commuting contracts and too long away from home. The time away he feels guilty and misses the Kids, when he is at home he tries to make up the lost time. After a few months the burnout syndrom shows up silently as the "Commuter" has no time for himself to recharge his Battery for the next duty pattern.

Guys who are a few days older and the Kids are independant are better off. The Wife joins them now and then on a longer trip and have some quality time together while on rotation, almost heaven on Earth?

If you can accept the fact that your wife has the pants on and handles the expenses independantly then you are well off. If she cannot shutoff the leaking hose in the Garden and needs a plumber for that then you are not meant to commute at all. It needs to be balanced between all Family members and then the commuting contract can be a asset.

I try at the moment something diffrent: Get back home and have less Jetlag and "dead" time in Hotels in the middle of nowhere. Flying shorter routes again. 10 to 12 days in the Cockpit per month. That should be enough.

11th Nov 2011, 16:05
and now .......... ads appearing for spring 2012 ....reason is ? Probably the pile of shiite you have to go through / documents required ad nauseam ........security systems that seem to have no trace of you even after 15 years of passes at LGW/LHR for BA etc , its all hardly worth the candle anymore . Meanwhile , some terrorist git can still get an airside pass .
'Pilots not required ( especially law abiding ones )' should be the new UK aviation advert.

11th Nov 2011, 16:48
So, contract agencies, and "desperate" employers: you are reading this stuff, right. Now is the time to sort out some decent Ts and Cs, not february or march when it all starts to kick off again.
There's lots of good work to be had in great parts of the world for those who don't think "everything south/east of essex is rather grubby", and lots of guys willing to do it.
But not if it means becoming single again...

PS anyone know anything about Juneyao (shanghai), 4 on 2 off?

Chuck Canuck
11th Nov 2011, 17:57
Any gig with more than 2 weeks away from home is torturous if you have a young family; anything which takes you away for more than 3 weeks will drive one nuts slowly but surely.

My ideal would be 8 days on 7 days off rotation; this ia a win win especially on a home base programme where one operates in and out of one's home base.

Rostering for such commuting schedules are not a problem; it has been done efficiently and judiciously before...it's the old plain jealousy, envy and lack of vision on the parts of many parties connected to flight ops human resourcing that prevented the wide spread adoption of such rosters.

11th Nov 2011, 18:13
Just laughed as I saw possibly the most misleading headline ever... I won't link to it but the headline was XXXX contract Captains Amsterdam. I might know some folk who want to do that so I clicked the link. I dunno what map they are looking at but the location is about 4,000 miles east of AMS and the "commuting" terms are 42 days on 14 off!
Still I bet they get a lot of clicks by advertising it as AMS :}

11th Nov 2011, 18:26
...it's the old plain jealousy, envy and lack of vision on the parts of many parties connected to flight ops human resourcing that prevented the wide spread adoption of such rosters.


Yes , yes , yes.
I have torn my hair out the last few years , working for airlines who desperately need expat pilots but have no idea whatsoever how to keep them without throwing money at them - pretty rare anyway !
I have often thought how satisfying it would be to be an Expat Pilot Coordinator and sort all the 'problems' that expats have and that locals fail to understand are the thin line between comfort and frustration .

Caspers take note.....

13th Nov 2011, 00:08
Hi all, im considering the idea of commuting with KAL, from my limited research this one seems to be the best I can find roster wise (14 days on 10 days off give or take). I am out of work and I like the idea of pitching up, doing my job, then looking forward to my days off back home until something better comes along in 1-3 years. Is it poss to do this or is life.... say in KAL a lot more difficult? (culture, personal safety, failing/passing worrys, difficulties getting out of the contract down the line)

any thoughts are welcome, thanks Fly26

13th Nov 2011, 13:14
There are many that would trade $ for time off and lifestyle. Most modern airline schedules are completely unsustainable for long term health. I am seeing colleagues at EK get very ill around me after more than a decade here. ( something we dont look at or consider when we chase a shiny jet or are driven by the $) . The companies that look at offering lifestyle packages might be pleasantly surprised that they have no shortage of experienced pilots to choose from. Airlines , if they were just organised enough could actually incur huge savings by offering basings and the option of job share , reduced package for reduced productivity etc.
Getting older and doing 90 hrs a month is a concern. Surely its possible to " slow down" . But this is pie in the sky stuff as the beancounters dont care about your cancer , they will just replace you with the next cancer patient in waiting. Come on contract agencies , pay attention , read these forums , turn away from the greed ,and you may be pleasantly surprised.

13th Nov 2011, 18:48
thats a really fair point, the roster pattern is high on my tick list if I am lucky enough to get a choice...could I ask you how many times you could realistically get back to the UK with EK? I guessing just in your annual leave.

Thanks F26

13th Nov 2011, 19:28
There is a story of one position out there which has attracted pilots from various agencies. This was advertised initially with a choice of roster patterns. Everyone started on the most onerous (6 on 2 off) with the idea being that if you did a few months of this ,you could then ask for 5/3 , 4/4.
It appears that in due course pilots from 1 agency asked for (& were granted) the change to the less intensive pattern in return for less bucks. The pilots from the 2nd agency involved were told it wasn't possible, & that their requests had been refused. . . strange Huh ?
It transpired quite simply that the 2nd agency involved (like the pilot ) would be taking a reduced payment each month & didn't want to reduce their payment, so, stuff the pilots requests & attempt to lie/conceal the real reason for the requests being "denied" (simply they didn't ask).
I have been contacted fairly regularly this last few months by a UK agency for an African gig, which in addition to being one of the less well paid, has an "attractive rotation" of 8wks on /2 off. I have asked every time I am contacted whether they have correlated the lack of interest with the rotation. Agency say they have spoken to the company but they don't want to know. Finally, I guess if no-one goes, they might improve it, but it really will take that to happen for anything to change.
The other problem is that if one asks for a 75% / 66% roster, they think, Hey, we are paying these guys too much, they can get by on 75% salary, lets make that the salary for a 100% roster. Well, only by no-one showing might they eventually realise that 6000 a month for 8 on/2 off is generally regarded as a p1sstake. Ethiopian seem to have also failed to correlate their constant need to recruit, with their garbage salary, they at least offer 20 on/10 off, but Hey,since when did a Capt's salary on a 737 become 6500$ ?
If we genuinely had/have a shortage of suitably experienced crew, things may (slowly) get better again. That is the one & only thing that will help to take us back (at least a little way) towards the rotations that used to be the norm for these contracts. Lack of bums on seats up front is the only language that works, & even then, they usually try & throw (not even enough! ) money at it ,in preference to figuring out what it is about the contract that no-one likes.
Real earnings in full time positions have taken a dive this last 10years, earnings, & more importantly conditions/rotations , for contract work is even less comparable with how it was. Perhaps one of the reasons for this could lie in the fact that 10 yrs ago there were a handful of agencies vying for business, & should one be offering particularly underwhelming contracts they wouldn't attract too many contractors. Every week I look on flightglobal.com to discover another "agency" (usually in reality a gross gross exaggeration for a computer in someones spare bedroom ? ) has sprung up, offering the same as everyone else, but no doubt accepting less commision, so cheaper for the airline. Sometimes this then mutates into offering less bucks for the same gig (Intaway last year for Corendon springs to mind) so, if anyone is mug enough to sign for them, they have depressed the market rate for all of us for the same contract. In my dealings with several agencies it is rare that I could recommend their services, 1, perhaps at a push 2, have given the impression that my needs had any importance whatsoever. When you have several advertising the same vacancy this is seldom a good sign, interestingly the one I could recommend seem to have always had exclusivity on what they offer, go figure, as they say on the other side of the pond.

14th Nov 2011, 13:33
Todays latest "irresistible" offer. . . Ariana, 737 Capt & FO, base Kabul :eek: 6wks on 2 wks off, Capt salary $6000-7000 depending on experience :D, Oh & First Officers must at least "have completed line training" :ok: no salary is mentioned for FO's, guess you are just doing it for the experience, or they are too embarrased to reveal it :=

It gets better all the time,but no doubt they will be inundated :ugh:

14th Nov 2011, 16:06
Disconnect the EGPWS and stay under radar. Sounds like there could an experience gradient in a few cockpits.

18th Nov 2011, 17:19
What justification is there to call the KAL gig the best commuting contract?

Some years ago, SQ Mauritius had a great one with bases in Syd, Bne, Per and Lon whereby it was 8 days on and 8 days off. It was an awesome deal.

18th Nov 2011, 19:14
The clue is in what you said " Some years ago " :hmm:

The trend this last 10 years has not been positive, most "offers" are 6/2 8/2, 4/2 is seen as "great"! & equal time off/on almost non existant.
KAL is regarded so highly, not because it is SO good, but merely because the rest on offer are so [email protected]<hidden> Of course, depending where you commute to, the time zone changes make "up to " (according to some agencies) 13 consecutive days off each month a little less orgasmic than you could first imagine, particularly as the best part of 2 of them could be spent in the back of a wide body flown by a local :eek:

Ethiopian now offer 25/12 if you don't fancy 20/10 (think they have stolen .5 of a day there :rolleyes: ) but any other recent offer (Okay was offering 4/4 but then knocked it down to 6/2) is way less good than the KAL one.

As you see "best" is a relative term.

18th Nov 2011, 23:35
Would you say KAL is the best of the bunch at the moment commuting wise?

21st Nov 2011, 14:00
Your observations are all generally correct, however there are the rare exceptions. In 2007 we were a bunch of pilots being laid off by a European flagcarrier (ok we were a spoiled bunch but not too much) . We went looking for jobs and found some in India , in Namibia in Turkey and so on. I was in a smallish group looking for parttime job. We acted as a group with one spokesperson doing the contract"bargaining". We finally got lucky (ca 6 months it took us) and were employed by a Chinese state airline(45hours p.m.). 12 days of the month belonged to the company , the rest belonged to us.Pay nothing special but ok as it was after tax (ca4k). Was too good to be true and 2008 they held us but 2009 they let us go( A340 flight hours were reduced due to the downturn ). Again on the search we got another chinese contract but this time we had to use a contractor. After the initial full time contract we are now on a 70% contract( 55h/14 days free of duty in Europe p.m.). But only our minifleet(3a/c) has this contract the expats on the other fleet fly 880 respectively 770 hours per year.
Now I would not say this is my dreamjob, working in China has its drawbacks ;) and I saw many good pilots who could or would not stay due to various reasons( many of which I understand).
My reasoning: By acting as a group we gained respect and some clout. We were even able to change some practices which were too hard to digest.
We will not change the system thats for sure.
We were lucky but we were also persistent where it counted.
Good luck for all of you

22nd Nov 2011, 10:51
Just a heads up. . . Rishworth are now asking for "expressions of interest" for a "proposed" :hmm: contract with Air India, involving a Dubai base :rolleyes: Huh ? do that many people want to commute INTO Dubai for their days off ? ?

Anyhow, the "proposed" roster is 20 on 10 off or 5wks on/ 3 wks off, which would indeed be better than the 10wks/3 wks 8wks/2wks they thought everyone would accept.

Of course from Dubai, you then have to get home.

Well, a marginal improvement on their previous efforts, remains to be seen if they are knocked down in the rush.

Oh, and for that, they propose 11,500

22nd Nov 2011, 10:57
The rep from RW is Dorothy. I received an email from her yesterday about the same program. I assume its for Air India Express.

I have questions relating to overtime pay, benefits, housing, paid ticket home on days off... etc.

Hope to hear from Dorothy soon. I will pass the information along.

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