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COS18 one year on!

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.

COS18 one year on!

Old 30th Nov 2021, 11:10
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COS18 one year on!

Well it hasn't been a full year yet, but according to the business check in CX be will going on a recruitment drive apparently next year, and once they have exhausted the local talent, they'll set their eyes again at attracting expats. Here is a rundown of what to expect as an expat, the figures will be quoted in USD as this is a 'universal currency'. The figures will be based on FO 1 with a wife and three kids, if you’re FO2 expect things to be slightly better, if you’re SO1 expect things to be a lot more worse. If you're Captain then you'll have it good
but not that great!

Now this is what the DFO has described as a "Competitive" package.

Base Pay and Pilot Allowance - $8790 USD per month.
Education allowance per child in Hong Kong - $860 per month.

Your Total base wage will be $9650 USD per month! Yes its a lot of money for a First Officer, and on paper it looks very tempting but once you move to Hong Kong, you'll realize how quickly you'll burn through it. So lets start by taking tax out at about 15% so the net income will be about $8200 USD per month


- Well with three kids, you'll probably need at least a 3 bedroom, If you want to live in DB, expect to pay on average $4000 USD for rent per month, if you want live in Tung Chung, expect about $3200 USD per month for rent

So now you're left with $4700 USD after you put a roof over your family’s head. (I used $3500 as the mean cost)

Education - That $860 USD per month should cover school costs! well yes it does if you send your kids to a local schools who teach kids to be more robotic than free thinkers, so you look for an international school, good luck finding one that will charge less than $1200 per month, so now to give your kids a decent education you'll have to pay an extra $322 USD per child per month, don't forget about the debenture and capital levy fees which is an added extra and not part of the tuition fee that can range from $5000-$50,000 USD per annum

So the balance is now $3730 USD left, yeah not bad at all

Medical - Good luck if you end up in hospital under the CX benefits, the hospital will chew through your "benefits" on the first day! so now you'll need to get extra private insurance which can run you up to $400 USD per month per family for decent cover

Balance: $3330

Food - If you don't have a local palate, expect to pay about 2-4 times the price of the same item you regularly buy back home, expect about $2000 USD per month on food

Balance: $1330

Utilities - Between internet subscription, phone plans, electricity and gas, it'll cost about $290 USD per month

Balance: $1040

There are other things you can tack onto that, like extra curricular activities for the kids, family activities, clothes and even a helper, all this must fit within the $1040 left over and that doesn't get you far in Hong Kong, so, if you move to Hong Kong, you can be saving as much as $1000 USD if you have a strict budget and don't let your kids enjoy life! Otherwise expect to break-even every month or end up being in debt.

So, yeah it all looks good on paper, but once you break it down, realistically you'll end up in a debt cycle that you will struggle to get out of and the company's care Factor is ZERO!

I hope this provides prospective to expats who are considering this "Airline" as a viable option. Unless you have an absolute death wish to come here and live in debt.

Last edited by Jnr380; 30th Nov 2021 at 13:56.
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Old 30th Nov 2021, 13:39
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A good post but I think you are light on the rental , if you want more than a shoe box it’s going to cost more than $ 4,000 per month in some cases considerably more .
Utilities $ 290pm , possible only if you are very careful but in the summer heat running 3 a/c units expect to pay significantly more
so that doesn’t leave much for your retirement or fun to be had with the family . Basically you will be working to live
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Old 30th Nov 2021, 13:55
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add transport.... $1000pm
and entertainment... $1000pm
ex wife/girlfriend/hooker.. $75,000pm

Balance -$infinity (that's a strong minus)

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Old 30th Nov 2021, 23:42
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You didn't allow for the 21 days a month free accommodation at Penny's Bay. That should save a bit.
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 03:30
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You're not even close....

Schooling is substantially more expensive.
High schools are about $2000 usd a month. Then sports etc are easily another $500+. Per child.

Travel - even if you go only once a year back to your home country and stay with your parents for every "holiday" that will cost you a few thousand usd a year. Which you won't have. And forget about ever going to stay in a hotel or god forbid a beach resort ever again..you simply don't have the money.

At a company like Emirates the salary is actually still a bit lower than at Cathay for similar hours flown in a month - but once taxes and bills are calculated there is NOTHING left for an FO with a kid or two at Cathay. For a captain maybe a thousand or two. And this assumes you get the hours every month. If for any reason you don't fly your full roster - like mmmm - rostering taking a flight off you or you going on leave - you lose as much as half your potential paycheck.

An FO at EK has the ability to save some money - you know for retirement and all that. At CX you have absolutely zero chance of saving a cent on FO pay. You will enter retirement with a potential 30 more years of life to finance with almost no savings. And the provident fund is at best good for about 1/3 of your retirement needs.

So the spouse has to work - but then the cost of a helper to take care of the kids while wifey works eats up half her salary if she isn't some sort of professional ..you better marry a woman/man who can earn a decent paycheck or hkg is not doable.

Housing - there is a huge difference between living in a tiny flat in hkg with your two kids and helper compared to a big (free) house in the desert...this cannot be quantified purely in dollars.

I can go on. But the que of Bright eyed applicants will probably not heed this warning so I'll stop wasting my time...
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 03:35
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You saying 8790 is the whole package including housing and flying ? How many hours would that include of flying every months ?
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 03:37
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Everything above is spot on.

Kids sport is a killer, here is what my kids are interested in;
In US dollars
Football $32/hr
Karate. $38/hr
Sailing $51/ lesson
Parkour $38/hr
Swimming $38/ 45min

My son is having learning support at school to help with learning difficulties 3 hours a week @ $115/hr
Domestic Helpers are a way of live over here, the help raise the kids while you are away and the wife is out working, min salary $800/mth

Forgot about servicing a mortgage back home.
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 04:08
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The hours vary depending on fleet but they will roster you for minimum hours so they don’t pay you any excess flying pay
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 04:36
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Also forget about buying a place in HK (because you won't be able to afford it), so in essence you'll be stuck in a rent trap for the rest of your 'career' at CX. So when you retire, expect to have zero home equity to your name.
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 05:37
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I was being as conservative as possible, you’re right, as one’s kids get older, expenses mount and then no chance whatsoever of saving a dime.

If a person thinks they can probably ride it out till they get command, well, command will take 12-15 years, so a person is stuck on the same joining salary or slightly a bit more till they get command! How many people can say they’ll be happy to go into a job where they know they won’t get any pay increase for at least 12 years?
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 06:08
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Jnr380. At the rate at which pilots are leaving some are predicting that time to command may come down to 5 years or less.
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 06:55
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For the Bright light Big City young kids... if want to save.. try a Nano flat with a garden... there are many in Hong Kong.. Less furniture, save money on not buying much.. be perfect for the wife since you be in Penny Bay Correctional Facility for most of the year, you only need a bed for few days once you get parole, before it all starts again. "217 sq ft studio with a 201 sq ft garden cost about HK$4.7 million (US$603,000), or HK$21,645 per sq ft, whereas the 206 sq ft unit one level up cost HK$4.14 million or HK$20,073 per square foot" if that too rich for the blood. These nano flats goes for around 15K HKD per month. https://www.hongkonghomes.com/en/pro...iAAEgKi2vD_BwE

reading material..
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 07:23
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I highly doubt 5 years, at best it will be 10 years.
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 08:28
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They will just hire direct entry captains, that’s what you get for a crap
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 08:47
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Wish I had a thousand USD surplus each month.
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 18:47
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H€££, second year FO pay at the lowest paid LCC in the USA is about $9500/month....
The hard part is the work permit, but everyone is hiring here, can't believe there's any US eligible workers that would stay there. You can always live somewhere else and commute.
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Old 1st Dec 2021, 22:13
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On the upside, I'm sure property prices will tank once they have finished absolutely trashing HK.
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Old 2nd Dec 2021, 09:35
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nope: influx of Mainlanders
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Old 2nd Dec 2021, 09:41
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The mainland is very good at assimilating the population.

The city will transition into a mandarin speaking mainland city, similar to ‘boiling frog’

The Bauhinia Flag will be slowly lowered, the art of war will be complete on this colony.

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Old 2nd Dec 2021, 10:04
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Property prices still going up. Rents are down but that's just supply vs demand right now. No point selling quite yet. All the mainlanders are using a shoebox in HK as a reason to escape what is up north.

HK is already a mandarin speaking city... Just ask any of the Bobbies anything in Canto or English... Probably can't respond anymore.
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