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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 25th Mar 2007, 02:22
  #1 (permalink)  
the hidden
Posts: n/a
Joining Dragonair? This is how it is now

If you are one of the fifty (so they say) something hopefuls being interviewed in the UK for Dragonair, then you might like to consider some things that I have experienced in my time here in Hong Kong. Whether you are considering the Manchester base, or Hong Kong, the same applies.

We as crew are been right royally rodgered at the moment, from every angle and seemingly unstoppable barrage of negativity and disregard to what is ostensibly a very loyal work force. Everybody who makes the move to Dragonair will have a reasonable amount of experience and professionalism, earned from years spent with previous companies. Nobody relocates to Hong Kong with any intention other than do their best whether professionally or socially. That’s what any self respecting human being would expect and would presume that kind would be met with kind. Dragonair was a company that was an accommodating place to be, but like milk left out too long in the mid-day sun; this place has turned, become sour and not pleasant to be around.

Gone are the days when a roster would be flexible to give you some time off with your family. Day off requests for consecutive days is rarely entertained by the ever increasingly abrasive rostering department. Want that weekend off with your daughter for her 10th birthday in 4 months time, to attend your best mates wedding, to go in a sailing regatta or study an evening course then chances are you will be disappointed. Statistically, you will work 5 or 6 days, landing at between 9-10pm before an off day then commencing duty on an early after your statutory 2 days off. Do expect 2 days off per week, but no more. Don’t think that the system might be better for you because you smile nicely at the girls, it won’t.

Gone are the days when you felt part of the company and individuals were motivated to go the extra distance. Quite frankly history has taught most guys that corporate memories are short, and why try to help out, when you may get bitten. What about 3 years ago when employees were “asked” to taken one months unpaid leave to help the company out, to be told 3 months later, post SARS crisis, that despite record revenue, you wouldn’t be getting anything back. We have expansion they said, and after all you are loyal employees, expatriates so we can shaft you. What are you going to do they infer, strike ha-ha. Even our “brothers” across the road, with there post 49er hangovers, we rewarded for helping out in a time of need.

Gone are the times of approachable management and helpful and friendly corporate culture. When dealing with the locally staffed personnel department, while trying to get help say for example with a rental contract, be under no illusions that you are considered to be an overpaid accessory. They are quite frank and blunt, and rather than helping you, will generally recommend you sort out your problems in your time. We are too busy. Of course this attitude percolates down from middle management, who are bitter little men and women, of limited abilities clinging onto the slippery corporate pole of annual assessments. It feels that their agenda is agitating their expatriate colleagues.

Gone are the days that the remuneration made putting up with all this hostility worth while. Dragonair crew has not had a pay rise for 7 years. Inflation is 2.5%, tax has risen to 17%. House and flat, rentals have risen by as much as 40% in the last two years. The General Manager operations have stated that pilots are better off than 5 years ago. A First Officer starts on £37000 (HK$57000) now, sure that’s really a lot when you pay 10 $US a beer in town. Sarcasm isn’t funny. There will be no raises. The local economy is booming. Even the government has recommended companies look favorably upon raises and bonuses. Only 2% of Hong Kong companies are not considering giving a raise this year. Yes again coming in tops is tight fisted, short sighted Dragonair. But keeping you lean makes you keen right? Keen to leave I think.

Finally, the optimism of last years Cathay buyout is fading fast. Dragonair will be increasingly serving polluted industrialized china with minimal other destinations. Fleet expansion has stagnated, as has command upgrades. The freighter fleet is in disarray. The classics are to be relocated to Hong Kong, to cover regional routes, while the -400s are to go to Manchester. Several pilots have taken a Hong Kong reporting option, they have been left in limbo by our ever so helpfully inept flt ops management “team”. The fleet is now managed by Cathay freight, under CX call signs. But be under no illusions, this will never be an easy back door in to Cx. With Ka salaries a good 20% below their Cx counterparts, not to mention rental allowances, there are not enough synergies that could be obtained by amalgamation. You will be second fiddle to Cx pilots, always.

Of course at the end of the day if you don’t mind been bitter and twisted, grind your axe daily and loose some of the old grey matter then carry on, it worked for me.
Old 26th Mar 2007, 11:04
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Somewhere in between
Posts: 109

That is shocking. £37000 ? is that for an f/o? How do they get experienced people.
Dutchjock is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2007, 11:58
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 86
Thumbs down

The Hidden's account of Dragonair these days is spot on unfortunately.

Only good for a free of charge type rating I'm afraid. 5- 8 years to a command by which time it will be on a mainland China salary scale. Pollution killing your kids, nasty letters for being 3 minutes late to work & a management style that makes the military of the 60's look modern.

For those being interviewed, if you ask the hard questions, the interviewers will falter. Don't let them fool you, it is you interviewing them, not the other way around.

That is of course if anyone bothers to turn up.
Outtahere is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2007, 14:42
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Somewhere near IKATA
Posts: 16
re: the hidden

Although a fairly accurate account of the current state at Dragonair, I'd like to add my 2 cent worth:

1. % of days off request entertained for April ranged from 60 - 85% depending on fleet.

2. Monthly Remuneration 1st Yr F/O. HK57,000, plus Housing (either Rental or House Purchasing Scheme, child education for up to 3 children, and the travel fund to your domicile.

There's 13 month, bonus (albeit little) and 15% gratuity after 3 years.

3. New routes since CX takeover, Busan in Korea and reinstatement of Phuket. We've lost Bangkok though.

4. Priority 29 at the moment. No ID90 business on CX. One World employees are on priority 28. Even though we're a wholly owned CX subsidiary we'd be bumped off by any of One World Carrier employee. Hmmm, so much for that 'synergy' talk they go on about and that 'Dare to Care' slogan from Personnel!
dpamember is offline  
Old 27th Mar 2007, 09:11
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Somewhere in between
Posts: 109
What about the KA cargo ex man, do they get £37000 as well and do they get housing allowance or something similar?

I understand the cargo crew is a great bunch, and I suppose not beeing based in hkg would make a big difference, or am I wrong in thinking that?
Dutchjock is offline  
Old 27th Mar 2007, 16:02
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 674
I think people should seriously have a good look at joining Oasis.
geh065 is offline  
Old 27th Mar 2007, 17:07
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Somewhere in between
Posts: 109
Why? Oasis make people pay for the conversion course
Dutchjock is offline  
Old 28th Mar 2007, 02:01
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Earth
Posts: 240
Oasis make people pay for the conversion course
Most of the companies where I come from that asked pilots to pay for their training ended up going bust....If they can't or won't afford training, it makes you think...
bobrun is offline  
Old 28th Mar 2007, 05:39
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 86
'Oasis make people pay for the conversion course'

Yep, Dragonair & Cx are paying at the moment!
Outtahere is offline  
Old 28th Mar 2007, 12:14
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: 12 O'clock High
Posts: 9
I understand that anyone joining KA will have about an 8-10 year wait for a command.
Given that any new joiner has approx 200 in front of them and only "modest expansion" even that figure would seem generous.
It seems the early command has well and truly gone and CX would seem a much better long term proposition now.
Rudi Zarsoff is offline  
Old 28th Mar 2007, 12:17
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Somewhere in between
Posts: 109
Any chance of amalgamation between the two?
Dutchjock is offline  
Old 28th Mar 2007, 12:43
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: The Harbour
Posts: 73
Thumbs down

I think KA will be almalgamated into oblivion!!!

Not a good place to work. EVERYONE you fly with are un-happy + miserable. Complaining about:

-400 Package
Crew Transport
Why is no one leaving?

HKG Phooey is offline  
Old 28th Mar 2007, 13:21
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Somewhere in between
Posts: 109
Anyone got anything positive to say about KA???
Dutchjock is offline  
Old 28th Mar 2007, 16:04
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: The Harbour
Posts: 73
It's Positively Rubbish!

HKG Phooey is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2007, 14:16
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: The Future
Posts: 203
HKG Phooey,

I think you are asking the right question. Why arent people leaving? Morale is low, that appears obvious from your post, but where is it high? Not Cathay, Qantas, BA, or United, so the legacy carriers are out. Who has the best package? Is the package important anymore, or is morale and lifestyle rosters worth more than money? I am just expanding on the question you have asked, not having a personal dig.

How about the LCC's? Oasis might have good morale because everyone is still in honeymoon mode, but that doesnt last, it wont be long before they start to feel like the lowest paid 400 drivers on the pax side of the airport. That will come, its human nature, or pilot nature, a matter of time.

Not sure where home is for you, but Jetstar, virgin, freedom, ryanair, easyjet, jet blue, virgin nigeria, is that where the action is? I'm not sure either. I think people arent leaving because the problems at dragon, are not just isolated to KA, they are industry wide. I am not sure if there is a better deal out there, just the same sh$t different dog, and management know it. Hence no pay rise, no rostering agreement, just a token offer of part time work, to show the new bosses that they are prepared to talk to the pilots, and pretending to try and make peace to get rid of that embarrasing pesky ban. No doubt the new boss is pressuring Tim to make it go away. Why else has he only just started to talk to the pilots now?

The reality is, there isnt a rostering program on earth that can make a legal roster with the increased schedule CX want KA to fly, they dont have enough pilots to cover their current schedule. There must be lots of pressure to make this ban go away. I know the ban is on the 400, and not the airbus, but there are alot of pilots that arent applying to KA incase they are offered the 400. There are too many other jobs out there for guys with the experience level that ka has traditionally tried to attract, to want to get caught up in an industrial mess. CX can only give KA so many cadets to fill the seats, they are short of crew too.

The only answer for the management is to get more pilots. The only way that will happen smoothly, is to negotiate a lifting of the pesky ban. Sit tight, who knows? I think KA might see a few positive changes....

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.
Elroy Jettson is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2007, 00:27
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: In Front of My PC
Posts: 186
Hasn't the Ban been lifted?



The DPA, representing the majority of Dragonair's pilots, has successfully concluded an agreement with management, whereby the rights to fly Dragonair aircraft under existing, agreed-to contracts, have been re-confirmed.

It has taken a long time, and the DPA would like to thank the many pilots who, by respecting the ban, have assisted our efforts to protect our legal contracts.

Now, we are happy to announce that the IFALPA-sponsored ban on recruitment for Dragonair's new fleet of B747-400 freighters is officially withdrawn, and we once again welcome interest in these positions.

It is the DPA's understanding that for the foreseeable future, Dragonair intends to recruit crews onto the B744F into our Manchester base, subject to our existing 2001 Flight Crew Services contract.

Yours sincerely,

Captain Andrew Mackinlay
On behalf of the DPA
Bill Smith is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2007, 01:12
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: The Future
Posts: 203
Thanks Bill,

Good news for prospective employees, as long as they know it has been dropped.

Maybe more candidates will turn up to the next round of interviews.
Elroy Jettson is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2007, 01:30
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: All over
Posts: 624
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.

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry over this. A poignant statement nonetheless.

boocs is offline  
Old 1st Apr 2007, 09:22
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: York International
Posts: 614
Is his wife any good?
Fly747 is offline  
Old 1st Apr 2007, 13:32
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: suitcase
Posts: 169
Mwaaaaaaahahahahhahahaha Lol ;-)))
dragon501 is offline  

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