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Joining Dragonair? This is how it is now

Fragrant Harbour A forum for the large number of pilots (expats and locals) based with the various airlines in Hong Kong. Air Traffic Controllers are also warmly welcomed into the forum.

Joining Dragonair? This is how it is now

Old 2nd Apr 2007, 00:33
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 40
Hmm, this is getting really difficult now...
I must say I didn't apply due to the ban, but now it's been lifted I'm looking to go for the MCT job. But reading all the negativity is not doing much for my spirit. Is it just the HKG base that's miserable, or does this negativity exist in the UK as well?

Maybe I should just go take a plumbing course...
BigLebowsky is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2007, 07:16
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 155

As Vermin has suggested, go along to the interview and ask some hard questions, their replies should tell you all you need to know.

The problems highlighted above all exist at the Manchester base. We share the same management, the crappy rosters, the indifference to our lifestyle, fatigue and day to day shambles that emerges from crew control.

No pay rise for 6 years, not even cost of living currently running at 4.5% annually in the UK. Down route allowances have only gone down in that time. 450 a year to park your car at work! Rosters getting worse.

I could go on and on but it's all been said before. Think very carefully before taking any job with KA.
joebanana is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2007, 12:11
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 40
Well I'm with FR at the moment so I don't think management can get any worse, but thanks for the info! (that's the prime reason why I'm desperatly needing to change jobs)
It's a shame really, not many good companies out there.

Joebanana, what's the problem wiht rostering? That is for me a make or break thing as I'd be commuting...
(And don't say no flexibility coz where I am now there is NONE, that word doesn't even exist. As an example I just had ALL my annual leave requests denied for the whole year coming!)
BigLebowsky is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2007, 13:41
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: The Euro
Posts: 19
This says itall i'm afraid! But if the real issue is pollution, that aint going to get any better in our life time. If the Amazon forrest is known as the lungs of the earth, this place (China and Hong Kong) has surely got to be the ar$ehole.

Many times while decending into the arsehole of china 8/10 times you will get calls from the cabin stating there is a electricail burning smell back here? You look at the Alitimeter to Realize that you have just decented into the welcomeing home blanket of dirty shit sulphur smelling gases popping up the Airconditioing sysytem and this is around 16,000ft or so.

Beautiful, just Beautiful and they're still trying to use the pull the wool over there eyes with the aurgument of saying that thigs are just as good as they were ten years ago..... I would hope that senior captains here will finally see the light and piss off and get some major contract to forfill there last years in aviation.

This place, make no mistake is a shit hole to fly into.
Flickroll2 is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2007, 14:13
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 155
What's wrong with rostering?


I could spend all day on this but I'll try to keep it brief.

The rostering is bordering on the negligent and from a business point of view is totally illogical. We are often away on 12 day duty cycles but end up flying 3 or 4 times, the rest of the time we are on standby (often when there isn't a departure) in crap hotels in HKG and DXB or simply waiting for yet another delayed aircraft. The number of roster changes during a cycle has to be seen to be believed!

No account whatsoever is taken of circadian disruption or the fatigue associated with an East-West route structure. If you haven't flown long haul before then the fatigue is very different to the fatigue associated with multi-sector days. You will often go days without sleeping more than a couple of hours at a time.

Any suggestions to improve the efficiency of the roster are routinely ignored. There is no desire to consider any lifestyle concerns and it seems that the rostering staff would rather give you maximum number of days away rather than compacting duty cycles - for flexibility!!!

I've been here for several years and we have always been short of crew for the style of rostering. 'We're recruiting' is the constant answer but we have not once been able to produce a roster with the right number of crews. This impacts on both the rostering stage and the day to day operations. Bizarre roster patterns emerge and any sickness or disruption has a massive knock on effect that causes chaos for days on end.

I know that FR is an equally poor place to be and initially KA may appear to be a reasonable place to be, if only because it's a change. You will very soon find out that rostering is a shambles, management inept, and pay inadequate. Did anybody mention the screw-up about UK tax?

If you want to leave FR (and I can't blame you!) then think carefully before coming to KA, there are more attractive options elsewhere.
joebanana is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2007, 16:43
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: hkg
Posts: 101
Its a tosspot managed sh1thole. Really don't bother leaving FR.
vikena is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2007, 16:52
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: York International
Posts: 614

Its a friggin shambles. Last week a Captain was sent on Emirates full fare DXB-MAN because they were short a crew there, however they couldn't find an FO so they cancelled the flight and sent the Captain back to DXB on Emirates again. (Pointless positioning is not unusual).
If you enjoy wasting your time away in hotel rooms that stink of stale piss (Novotel DXB) then this is the place for you. You can't go anywhere in DXB because the traffic is so bad it takes an age to get anywhere.
If you're a Ryan man then why not try Sqeezy jet in Belfast and earn more than you will at KA. It is a thrill to fly the big Jumbo bwana for a while but that soon wears thin.
Good Luck!
Fly747 is offline  
Old 3rd Apr 2007, 22:02
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Somewhere in between
Posts: 109
A First Officer starts on 37000 (HK$57000)
So after UK tax how much would a FO take home?
Dutchjock is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2007, 08:07
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Fantasyland
Posts: 44
Thumbs down Sad but true

As a long time employee of KA I can attest that the good days are gone. While there is some embellishment in some of the above posts, there are many not far from the truth. I would have left by now except that it is difficult to find a position as a Direct Entry Commander that suits my family. The same situation exists for others so that possibly explains why so few crews have left. Legacy carriers are certainly not the preferred option for anyone here as they join so far down the list that even 5 yrs to command here seems worth it. Given what I know now, I would have to say go to that legacy carrier, and enjoy your lifestyle while there. You cannot enjoy HKG lifestyle unless you spend the majority of your income, and if you intend to do that, why bother coming here in the first place.

Just for those that are still interested in KA, a monthly roster will have you away from home for around 280-300 hrs with around 10 days home in HKG.
The cost of living has risen considerably in the past 3 yers however there has been no pay rise in 6. It is even worse for the MAN based chaps who now need to pay UK taxes and are on only a 10% bonus (which is fully taxable).
The basic cost of living in HKG is around double to triple what you may used to. In summer you can expect utility costs around $3000HK per month while you run the aircons, and you have to!
Most food is imported so unless you wish to eat noodles and chinese greens a weekly spend at the supermarket for a family of four is around $5000HK.
Education costs are expensive. True they are subsidised but only to a certain level. Luckily I am past it but I hear that others are paying around $2000Hk per month (after allowances) per child.
True that you dont need a car if you live in HK and that the public transport system is second to none. However if you decide to live outside the MTR zones, as many do, then a car is essential. Cost of fuel is around $13 per litre. Add tollway roads and parking costs and a daily trip to work costs around $300HK.

For those considering coming here I would have to say that given an option of either KA or CX - take CX. CX are the masters and will ensure that CX prospers while KA withers. The KA brand will be around for another 5 years or so and then the real fight to keep or improve conditions will be fought. Luckily I shall be gone by then.

Have a drink on me!
DrunkenAir is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2007, 20:28
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Inahotelsomewhere
Posts: 6
This thread makes for very worrying reading to the prospective KA pilot(in particular Man base).
I knew things were bad in there but didn't think it was that bad !
Am in the recruitment process at the moment and don't like what I'm reading here.
Any way,Thanks all for the heads up,its all good information
Q-pot is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 00:15
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Singapore
Posts: 166
For someone joining now would it would be unreasonable to expect a command inside of 7 years ( manager's words ).

This would be subject to an expansion by Cathay that isn't guarranteed.

Something else not factored here is that in that time frame there will be a lot of locals ready for upgrading too.

Is it fair to say command prospects at Dragonair bleak and uncertain?
You will go backwards on a KA first officers wage living in Hong Kong for a long period. This with consideration to the resistance to any much needed payrise and what you get paid now is what they will want to pay you in a decade!
And Then is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 01:39
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Asia
Posts: 135
Q-Pot you have a PM
FL245 is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2007, 10:46
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 464

Wow! KA has certainly gone downhill since I left in '99. It was showing signs of going that way then but this is bad!

In a way it is not that surprising. With a 'yes' man for GMO, who had dubious competency for the position, and a Personnel Manager who was very anti pilots I can see how it happened.
Flap 5 is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2007, 15:57
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Europe
Posts: 51
A/C Orders

Aside a few freighters, does KA have any aircraft on order? I haven't heard of any to replace those that leave as operating leases expire. I would say command prospects - absent a major new order - look dim.

Millstream is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2007, 17:10
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Europe
Posts: 51

When does the A330 arrive? Was that a very recent order? No mention in the company AR of any more A330 deliveries. Perhaps on the way back from Air China? Thought they were leased wet, with crews?

Millstream is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2007, 20:49
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 48
Been reading this topic and am unpleasantly suprised. Going for an interview for KA next week. I wonder what they will tell me. If it is as bad as people say here, they wil never find the people. On the other hand they might do, since there are always people who accept sh*t for low salaries.
Push to talk is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2007, 01:01
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 47
No more A330

There will be no new A330 for KA. There are 2 A330 doing wetlease for Air China but they are wetleased with crew. They will be returned within the next year.
I see no reason to join KA. As a captain here you can save money but as an FO with family- no way. I would say 5-7 years for command.
The negative aspects of the job I would list as
Roster, Nightstops,route network, management and HK pollution
Leave system and a good chance to see Asia on your leave.
As there are no expansion plans I wouldn't come here for now.
Ka-life is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2007, 09:05
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: ---
Age: 41
Posts: 10
You see the problem isn't that there are lots of people who are willing to accept the sh*t for less money. If I compare the situation some of you are describing at KA to my own company, I would get the same sh*t I have now, except that I would get three times as much money for it at KA... All of the sudden that sounds like a very tempting scenario...
bluefish is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2007, 11:15
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 40
Thanks everyone for getting to the root with all this.
But as someone said, "stay at FR", is not an option. It's so bad here just now I'm not even gonna start. But the good-list that Ka-life listed can all be put under bad...
The problem is salary, sure there might be some good places to go to, but to go from a command salary to 1st year F/O say in Virgin is a BIG drop. So there's only a few places that will pay enough to even be considered...
Some of the really good places only take rated pilots, so how long is the bond in KA? I'm thinking maybe getting a rating, then leaving when time's up...
EZY, nah. Gotta get out of this Low cost swamp...
BigLebowsky is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2007, 15:28
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: suitcase
Posts: 169
Money is soooo bad..... Guess everyone else pays soooo much more right??? Lotsa bad things, but money.... Not one of them as far as I and a lot of others are concerned...

That's why noone is leaving..... START LEAVING!!!!!!
dragon501 is offline  

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