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Pilot Shortage in Hong Kong

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.

Pilot Shortage in Hong Kong

Old 18th Aug 2022, 22:11
  #201 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Papa123
Hmm, so capacity increased from 9 to 12%. Cargo is flat, and passenger travel is “sparking” from HK vacationers and seasonal student travel.

Sounds epic. Where can I buy stock?
lmfao. what a sinking ship that is. Who wears floaties??
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Old 19th Aug 2022, 11:13
  #202 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by jjmclure
Has anyone heard of Cathay Pacific now requiring new joiners to sign for a training loan ( aka training bond)
Worth $280000 hkd over 36 months?
Have fun being bonded for 3 years
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Old 2nd Sep 2022, 16:25
  #203 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by missingblade
Average 777 pilot isn't flying at all.
Average Airbus pilot is doing 45 hours.

Only the 747 guys are flying reasonable hours.
No 747's parked.

Hkg isn't really opening any time soo. Thus cx is a cargo airline for the foreseeable future.

So - There's no shortage of pilots.

There's 2500 guys on the seniority list.

Costs to hire and train new pilots as we slowly open up over the next two or more years will be a billion dollars plus - however they've saved double that on cos18 and everyone that quit over the past two years...

I fail to see the problem...
777 pilot is not flying, but you also need to consider the fact that not many 777 pilots left. Most have been transfer to 747 or have quit.

Average Airbus doing 45 hours, that's a bit misleading.
Closed loop Airbus are average 85+ hours (mostly long haul with some regional pax flight)
Non-Closed loop Airbus are below the fleet threshold, so yes they are indeed averaging around 45+ hours. However all of these guys are operating COP or China Flight or regional sector or mini loop (ie: pax flight + Q3). Flying 45 to 50 hours, most guys are already on a very busy roster with not much ability to roster more flight unless the government remove some restrictions on test and hold or mini loop quarantine restrictions. And yes, more then 90% of the whole Airbus (330/350) fleet are already back on the line. So unless they get more crew, they won't be about to mount more sectors. So definitely a shortage if they want to ramp up even more.

747 guys, yes they are working very hard and we all know that. They are also making a lot of money, more then their old contract, with some guys flying up to 100+ hours a month.

So is there a shortage? Yes and No.

Flying the current level of flight, there are NO shortage.

​​​If we ever want to ramp up, then yes there will be a shortage, but not a significant one. Because it depends on how big of an airline, CX will be post COVID? Currently, CX has about 2450 pilots. This is similar to the number of pilots back in 2007/8, at that time, CX has around 120 aircraft. In the last annual report, CX (not including HK express or HK Airline) has 188 aircraft (this is down form 245 from before COVID). Assuming they will shink the airline and get rid of all the 777-300ER on lease, as well as any A330 and A321 on lease, that will bring the fleet size down to 160 aircraft. To man 160 aircraft, they will around 3300 pilots. So essentially, they are around 900 pilot short.

And since the airline are not going to instantly return to full flying. We can expect that their plan will be to ramp up back to around 3300 pilots with 160 aircraft. The management thinks they can hire 500 cadets within 2 to 3 years. So they need to hire another 400 direct entry pilots. Will they be able to do it? Who knows?

So yes they are short of pilots for 160 aircraft.

Now of course if the business case changes and they want to be a bigger airline (maybe back to 245 aircraft, pre-COVID level)? Then all I can say is, Good Luck to the management team.


Last edited by cxhk; 2nd Sep 2022 at 16:43.
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Old 5th Sep 2022, 19:40
  #204 (permalink)  
 
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Please for god sake. Clearly a lot of people don’t understand how this industry work.

Let’s make it clear on the pilot shortage numbers.
It doesn’t matter what it is right now! One of the key of running an airline business is to look ahead! Which CX and lots of people here has no idea about. Undoubtedly it is approximately one pilot leaving everyday as per the current rate.

People will be like: oh **** it let’s raise the package when we need pilots. But they don’t understand pilot don’t come in overnight like an office lady. Pilot needs training, guess where’s the training come from? Trainers. Where trainers come from? Senior standards Trainer. What do they need to train? Simulators ? How many do we have? Then the next questions come in

**** it we just gonna hire experience pilots!
Generally speaking if you are an experience jet pilot you would be around late 20s early 30s ( I am not talking about SO here). It which leads to some other questions.

e.g. can I survive with COS 18 with my family ? How much does a kid cost go the school? Medical plan well enough support my family ? How big is my shoebox gonna be ? Does CX respect what is a contract or my salary just gonna get cut another 20% tomorrow ?

What people don’t understand the pilot industry is not exactly how much you earning but it’s about how much you get in net income. People often compare different airlines it’s not exactly apple to apple. HK is no doubt the most expensive city. Just simply put yourself into the questions above why would an experience pilot wanna go on a one way road and come to Hong Kong where’s there are more options out there?

Another way of seeing it is CX was a great option back then perhaps even with COS08 with no housing. But now CX might have just fall into the average or even lower category in my opinion.

For people saying being a captain should have just taken 5 mins coffees with the chief pilot clearly have no idea what this job is about. They think the job and the industry is as simple as just serving a coffee or a beer at the bar.

There are way more better ways to deal with this crisis e.g. temporary pay cut but with the same contract just to show we are on the same bloody boat. In the last 30 years you might heard lots of people are leaving but nothing happened. I am sorry this time is legit and this is a huge wave that none of the cx management has ever seen. Ironically enough, some people might think giving few thousands on pilot allowence or China flights gonna make a difference ? Clearly not.

P.S STW when you said China pilots can come and work for CX it just shown you have no idea what aviation is like in China. I suggested you can do a lot more research first. Btw I just have 3 Chinese local pilot colleagues left two months ago.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 09:54
  #205 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cxhk
777 pilot is not flying, but you also need to consider the fact that not many 777 pilots left. Most have been transfer to 747 or have quit.

Average Airbus doing 45 hours, that's a bit misleading.
Closed loop Airbus are average 85+ hours (mostly long haul with some regional pax flight)
Non-Closed loop Airbus are below the fleet threshold, so yes they are indeed averaging around 45+ hours. However all of these guys are operating COP or China Flight or regional sector or mini loop (ie: pax flight + Q3). Flying 45 to 50 hours, most guys are already on a very busy roster with not much ability to roster more flight unless the government remove some restrictions on test and hold or mini loop quarantine restrictions. And yes, more then 90% of the whole Airbus (330/350) fleet are already back on the line. So unless they get more crew, they won't be about to mount more sectors. So definitely a shortage if they want to ramp up even more.

747 guys, yes they are working very hard and we all know that. They are also making a lot of money, more then their old contract, with some guys flying up to 100+ hours a month.

So is there a shortage? Yes and No.

Flying the current level of flight, there are NO shortage.

​​​If we ever want to ramp up, then yes there will be a shortage, but not a significant one. Because it depends on how big of an airline, CX will be post COVID? Currently, CX has about 2450 pilots. This is similar to the number of pilots back in 2007/8, at that time, CX has around 120 aircraft. In the last annual report, CX (not including HK express or HK Airline) has 188 aircraft (this is down form 245 from before COVID). Assuming they will shink the airline and get rid of all the 777-300ER on lease, as well as any A330 and A321 on lease, that will bring the fleet size down to 160 aircraft. To man 160 aircraft, they will around 3300 pilots. So essentially, they are around 900 pilot short.

And since the airline are not going to instantly return to full flying. We can expect that their plan will be to ramp up back to around 3300 pilots with 160 aircraft. The management thinks they can hire 500 cadets within 2 to 3 years. So they need to hire another 400 direct entry pilots. Will they be able to do it? Who knows?

So yes they are short of pilots for 160 aircraft.

Now of course if the business case changes and they want to be a bigger airline (maybe back to 245 aircraft, pre-COVID level)? Then all I can say is, Good Luck to the management team.
SCMP:

“HongKong transport companies: CityBus and First Bus report they are not worried about Cathay’s Cadet hiring targets. An unnamed employee in talent management went off the record to say; ‘from what we hear the contract and working conditions at CX are so bad our drivers are in no hurry to earn less, take on debt, or spend weeks locked up for a virus with 0.008% mortality rate. Our drivers can move swiftly up the ranks and upgrade to double decker is running at 6 months, not 6 years’.

Both companies confirmed they will will be warding off any poaching attempts by CX recruiters, if any of them still exist.”
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 10:09
  #206 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Zi Peng
SCMP:

“HongKong transport companies: CityBus and First Bus report they are not worried about Cathay’s Cadet hiring targets. An unnamed employee in talent management went off the record to say; ‘from what we hear the contract and working conditions at CX are so bad our drivers are in no hurry to earn less, take on debt, or spend weeks locked up for a virus with 0.008% mortality rate. Our drivers can move swiftly up the ranks and upgrade to double decker is running at 6 months, not 6 years’.

Both companies confirmed they will will be warding off any poaching attempts by CX recruiters, if any of them still exist.”
Outstanding. !!
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Old 19th Jun 2023, 19:13
  #207 (permalink)  
 
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So in almost a year since the last post what is the current condition of CX and her pilot group? Any improvements, changes or has the Titanic sunk?

Did the hiring improve or get worse?
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Old 19th Jun 2023, 19:53
  #208 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by TinFoilhat2
So in almost a year since the last post what is the current condition of CX and her pilot group? Any improvements, changes or has the Titanic sunk?

Did the hiring improve or get worse?
Rumor has it that DEC hiring will start in the 4th quarter.

Preference given to those with PR and a HKG ATPL with significant Command experience on wide body jets.
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Old 19th Jun 2023, 21:12
  #209 (permalink)  
 
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Good luck to any new hire DEC without typhoon experience, and their crew and passengers. That's probably why they are doing it closer to the end of the year, so they can e-mail them some powerpoint slides about it before the crap hits the fan.

Any Captain with significant time in widebody jets willing to move to Hong Kong without a proper contract and a working rostering system either has some serious skeletons in their closet or a screw loose.
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Old 20th Jun 2023, 00:23
  #210 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by TinFoilhat2
So in almost a year since the last post what is the current condition of CX and her pilot group? Any improvements, changes or has the Titanic sunk?

Did the hiring improve or get worse?
For all the recruitment, the total number of pilots remains the same. We had 3800. End of COVID 2410. Currently 2410.

SOs coming off CPL course doing baggage handling and check-in at the airport. Existing SOs might be able to transfer to Express. Too many SOs, not enough Capt and Relief Command to crew flights which would need a SO.

Command courses over 4 years out of seniority.

SFOs who took sick leave bypassed for command for a year - lack of resilience (a great bit of intimidation and a really safe bit of management).
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Old 20th Jun 2023, 01:47
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Originally Posted by Oasis
Good luck to any new hire DEC without typhoon experience, and their crew and passengers. That's probably why they are doing it closer to the end of the year, so they can e-mail them some powerpoint slides about it before the crap hits the fan.

Any Captain with significant time in widebody jets willing to move to Hong Kong without a proper contract and a working rostering system either has some serious skeletons in their closet or a screw loose.
Agree Oasis.


Do not know where they may find experienced Captain's who hold PR and wide body time to fly in typhoons.

Last edited by Asianexpress; 20th Jun 2023 at 02:04. Reason: Changed text.
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Old 20th Jun 2023, 02:33
  #212 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Asianexpress
Do not know where they may find experienced Captain's who hold PR and wide body time to fly in typhoons.
I do. Not sure any of them would want to move to Hong Kong though...
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Old 20th Jun 2023, 03:35
  #213 (permalink)  
 
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Ah, the pilot shortage.. Guys, you still don't acknowledge how bad contracts are elsewhere. Plus, if there ever is a shortage it won't be at Cathay in HK, it will be at ( not really) Greater Bay or Air Hong Kong. Besides, if a contract is good enough for you to stay, it's good enough for others to join. Arrogance is misplaced. Also a lot of guys fly barely above productivity threshold now, I say shortage is (very unfortunately) wishful thinking I am afraid.
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Old 20th Jun 2023, 05:35
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"fly in typhoons"

I just spat my coffee all over my laptop as I laughed out loud. "So Bob how many Typhoons have you flown into?"
I will now spend the rest of my rest period cleaning my laptop.
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Old 20th Jun 2023, 08:12
  #215 (permalink)  
 
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Is training a DEC faster or cheaper than upgrading a 15 years FO often with good previous experience sometimes command time as well ? Those guys might have even seen a typhoon if lucky enough!
Asking for a friend.
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Old 20th Jun 2023, 09:05
  #216 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Zi Peng
Is training a DEC faster or cheaper than upgrading a 15 years FO often with good previous experience sometimes command time as well ? Those guys might have even seen a typhoon if lucky enough!
Asking for a friend.
It’s faster and cheaper if they are ex KA, there are still quite a few KA CNs who didn’t want to take the JFO slots that were on offer but who would come back for DEC.
A “short course” is being proposed for them.
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Old 20th Jun 2023, 09:47
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Originally Posted by Dragon Pacific
It’s faster and cheaper if they are ex KA, there are still quite a few KA CNs who didn’t want to take the JFO slots that were on offer but who would come back for DEC.
A “short course” is being proposed for them.
If upgrades are on type I seriously doubt it.
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Old 21st Jun 2023, 07:17
  #218 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by magenta magnet
"fly in typhoons"

I just spat my coffee all over my laptop as I laughed out loud. "So Bob how many Typhoons have you flown into?"
I will now spend the rest of my rest period cleaning my laptop.
The last grasp of the straw, when all you’ve got left to play is the good old typhoon card.
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Old 21st Jun 2023, 08:12
  #219 (permalink)  
 
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typhoon

Lucille I too laughed out loud re flying in typhoons! These tossers are deluded. With the advent of windsheer warnings there is no longer seat of the pants flying!
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Old 21st Jun 2023, 09:41
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If I knew the captain was brand new on the aircraft, first departure/arrival into a typhoon.

I would not want my wife and kids on that aircraft.

Everyone has a different risk tolerance.

Last edited by Oasis; 21st Jun 2023 at 10:20.
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