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Mad Middle East Pilots

Middle East Many expats still flying in Knoteetingham. Regional issues can be discussed here.

Mad Middle East Pilots

Old 3rd Nov 2017, 04:55
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Apr 2009
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Mad Middle East Pilots

Hello, as a new pilot in the Middle East I would just like to know whether the factionalism I find in my company is common throughout the region.

What I mean is that at my airline all Pilots congregate into their national groups and then there are some that form groups that aren't based on nationality but on some other common factor (this is rarer) but nevertheless as dangerous.

Each group has its own sort of heirarchy with it's leaders, generals, and other ranks. Each group also commonly has a few guys that act like embassodors to other groups and also their fanatics that are closed minded and difficult to get through to.

There is also commonly alliances formed and broken between groups. In addition there is a great interest by each group to gather power over the rest by elevating it's members into the management.

The end result I find is that the company suffers as none of these groups have the companies best interests at heart.

I don't really feel part of any group, nor do I want to join one even though people from my nationality assumed that I would join in with them, this has left me quite alienated as I have somehow broken the holy order. After all one must join a group and not joining one is the ultimate rebellion which all groups agree on.

I also suspect that this culture is quite common amongst expats in the Middle East. So it would be no surprise to me to find same condition in other companies. It's funny because it sort of seems to be the same culture as the harsh tribal culture of the Bedouins of this region, must be something in the sand that does this to people. Most of whom claim that they are above this sort of behaviour.

Anyway, could people let me know of there are companies in the region where this sort of behaviour is less common or are there any. Also do you find this same condition back home with the airlines there? Different competing cliques forming around personalities or ideas? And finally what's your advise for making it around these parts while remaining independent. Do I have any chance of making it here in the long run?
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 05:33
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Join Date: Jul 2000
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Not seen this personally at EK...
White Knight is offline  
Old 3rd Nov 2017, 05:51
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Join Date: Oct 2016
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Hello Airmann,
I've found the same situation in my ME airline.
but, it wasn't any different back home honestly.
It is just over magnified here where you have people much more obviously belonging to nationality groups. It may be evident by the way they look, it is definitely obvious by the way they speak.
back home was the same, just more subtle.
honestly, I think that it has something to do with being humans.
They (!!!) are social animals. and they tend to form groups, and to create a sort of hierarchy within those groups.
pilots tend to be as human as others, and form groups of pilots.
being a troll, I tend to hang out with trolls most of the time, which leaves me very little time to get to know humans better...
but I'm digressing now.
essentially the answer is:
same same, but different

Regards,

KL
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 05:57
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Join Date: Apr 2012
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Welcome to the sandbox,

Not only is this common , it is encouraged to organize based on nationality. The locals have their majlis where they meet every evening. The "second tier" Arab nationals usually have their own group quite often leaving the Egyptians out. Western expats are also sub divided, Eastern Europeans being considered as inferior . If you are black , Pakistani or any sort of Asian don't expect to get any sort of respect right away unless you have lots and lots of money.

This isn't EK , this is just how the gulf has operated for years and years. Things ain't going to change anytime soon .
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 06:28
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Just to clarify I'm not at EK. Yes I figured it's just human nature. But it would be nice to work somewhere where there was just one group and that is everyone.

Probably just idealistic thinking. Since the beginning of time humans have have congregated into groups. Either religious, nationalistic, ethnic etc. And then competed with each other for supremacy.

I guess I just believed that Pilots were worldly wise and are enough of these things not to fall into this trap. But I guess it's not the case.

I've been considering applying for Emirates recently. But someone has advised me that beyond the issues at the airline the lifestyle in Dubai tends to make people quite stuck up and compete like crazy for status. Is this true.

Also, hows the atmosphere between colleagues in the flight deck I was in an immigration line a while ago with some Emirates Pilots in front of us. Neither one of them would acknowledge us pilots from another airline after we greeted them. No reply. Is this common? It was two captains and an FO. The FO nodded but looked scared. Made me a bit worried

Last edited by Airmann; 3rd Nov 2017 at 06:59.
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 06:46
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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Ive always found the Spanish speakers to be a bit of a tribe. So do the southern hemisphere Portugese speakers, they can be quite a fickle bunch. As for the rest, well us Brits put many to shame with our inflated sense of the failed empire, but not quite as bad as the Ozmates.
All of course at EK haha.
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 09:55
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The Gulf is multinational, it's definitely not multicultural.

Normal human behaviour.
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 12:30
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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I kind of like the fact that every one of my close friends is a different nationality and yet we are remarkably alike when it comes to mentality, behaviour and culture
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 13:49
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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The only advice I can give you is keep a big distance from everyone and anyone who is negative and does nothing but complain, either about their company, where they live, or the region.

Also, if ever you're invited to anything, always try and make the effort to go and meet new people. If you keep refusing to make an effort, others will simply stop inviting you.

If you hear anyone complaining, simply ask "why are you still hear"
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 14:18
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Originally Posted by Black Pudding View Post
The only advice I can give you is keep a big distance from everyone and anyone who is negative and does nothing but complain, either about their company, where they live, or the region.

Also, if ever you're invited to anything, always try and make the effort to go and meet new people. If you keep refusing to make an effort, others will simply stop inviting you.

If you hear anyone complaining, simply ask "why are you still hear"
Thanks for that advice. But at the stage in my career that I'm at now speaking to people that way will build up way too many enemies. I find that most people like to use us subalterns as a listening post to vent their frustrations but don't want any advise that could make them look or seem stupid/foolish. Although we could do just that.

One of the big issues I have is that I am an expat but I've grown up in the middle East. I have experienced this environment for the past 25 years but have not participated in the work environment. Having now entered the workplace I am faced with the same old sad story of newly arrived expats venting the same old frustrations I've seen and endured for many a year and have come to terms with. But this doesn't mean a thing as I am supposed to sit and listen quietly while the chap goes on like he's the first ever expat to reach these shores while I nod my head at his unquestionable wisdom and foresight.
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 14:50
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Originally Posted by Airmann View Post
Thanks for that advice. But at the stage in my career that I'm at now speaking to people that way will build up way too many enemies. I find that most people like to use us subalterns as a listening post to vent their frustrations but don't want any advise that could make them look or seem stupid/foolish. Although we could do just that.

One of the big issues I have is that I am an expat but I've grown up in the middle East. I have experienced this environment for the past 25 years but have not participated in the work environment. Having now entered the workplace I am faced with the same old sad story of newly arrived expats venting the same old frustrations I've seen and endured for many a year and have come to terms with. But this doesn't mean a thing as I am supposed to sit and listen quietly while the chap goes on like he's the first ever expat to reach these shores while I nod my head at his unquestionable wisdom and foresight.
Airmann, respectfully I say that you have not experienced “the other side” so you do not have the knowledge or understanding to comment appropriately on this.

J
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 14:54
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Originally Posted by jack schidt View Post
Airmann, respectfully I say that you have not experienced “the other side” so you do not have the knowledge or understanding to comment appropriately on this.

J
By the other side do you mean the left seat or being a new expat in the gulf?
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 15:37
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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Simply socialise with those you're happy to listen too.

In this life, there are boilers and there are radiators

I tend to drift towards radiators

If I am with someone who slags off the company we work for or the country we live in, I simply tell them to hand their notice in and in 90 days, do one. It's as simple as that.

I don't get paid enough to spend time listening to anyone who wants to drag me down. Being away from my home country is one thing, listening to crap I can do without.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 00:46
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Join Date: May 2010
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Interesting thread, Airmann.
Must say, never seen this in my 10+ years in EK, but then again, I took the full salary very quickly after joining and never had to live next door to other pilots and their families. Them folks over at Meydan South, East, North & Northwest might have a different take on this.
I know you are not with EK, but at least you get one off-campus EK pilots input.

Black Pudding has some sound advice :-)
EK-or-bust is offline  
Old 4th Nov 2017, 03:29
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Originally Posted by Monarch Man View Post
Ive always found the Spanish speakers to be a bit of a tribe.
That's because we speak English, not British

Seriously, I've been an expat for over a decade and the place I was treated the worst was... my very own country. I was an outsider to my own people only because my flying has been done mostly out of Spain. No reference, no friends, no recommendations, so I didn't deserve even a handshake. You don't need to be an expat or be in the ME to experience the "best" of human behaviour. It just pops out wherever is money and power (management, in this case), or a chance for egos to grow up.

What Airmann has described is carbon copy of where I am now, somewhere around SEA. Ever since I stopped hanging around pilots my BP has gone down points, I sleep better and I see my present and my future with optimism.

There is a life out of Aviation, just grab it.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 11:36
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The worst I’ve seen have been the Thpanith. In addition to forming a mafia, they then further improved on this hierarchy by the number of last names they had or some other weird nuance that I couldn’t bother to understand. Then, when it all went pear shaped, turned on themselves whilst making monkey noises and chewing off their own legs caught in traps. The thpanith...oh my.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 12:01
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Each group has its own sort of heirarchy with it's leaders, generals, and other ranks. Each group also commonly has a few guys that act like embassodors to other groups and also their fanatics that are closed minded and difficult to get through to.
Sounds like George Orwell's Animal Farm to me.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 13:40
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Originally Posted by iggy View Post
That's because we speak English, not British

Seriously, I've been an expat for over a decade and the place I was treated the worst was... my very own country. I was an outsider to my own people only because my flying has been done mostly out of Spain. No reference, no friends, no recommendations, so I didn't deserve even a handshake. You don't need to be an expat or be in the ME to experience the "best" of human behaviour. It just pops out wherever is money and power (management, in this case), or a chance for egos to grow up.

What Airmann has described is carbon copy of where I am now, somewhere around SEA. Ever since I stopped hanging around pilots my BP has gone down points, I sleep better and I see my present and my future with optimism.

There is a life out of Aviation, just grab it.
Could not agree more, there is a life out of aviation.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 14:23
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And here where I am, a large group came from an airline that went bust. All very nice people I am sure. Most of them live in the same buildings and have or had a Whatapp group. The problem is, they all socialise together and all keep in touch. When one messes up, there is the possibility they tell their friends only half truths or not the correct full story and the next thing is, the all assume the company is bad. When one fails in training, they all think the company has done wrong and it's a bad place to be and creates worry and panic etc etc etc. Whatapp spreads rumours that may not always be the whole story or the truth. It can cause unrest and unnecessary worry. One may get sacked for a legitimate reason, but tells his/her friends only half a story and says he/she has been unfairly treated. This is one of the problems when you listen to half stories. Until I hear the facts from the inside, best to just have a another beer and move along. Some of the behaviour, performance or abilities sometimes shown justifies being sacked. Sad, but true. I can say where I am, the company does make every effort to help as much as it can. Sometimes the situation or event is beyond help. When someone is told they are no longer required, there tends to of benn a run of events and not always only one problem or incidence.

I must say, most here are positive and happy to be here if anywhere in the region.

Last edited by Black Pudding; 5th Nov 2017 at 00:22.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 18:19
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Join Date: Oct 2016
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Originally Posted by Airmann View Post
I've been considering applying for Emirates recently. But someone has advised me that beyond the issues at the airline the lifestyle in Dubai tends to make people quite stuck up and compete like crazy for status. Is this true.

Also, hows the atmosphere between colleagues in the flight deck I was in an immigration line a while ago with some Emirates Pilots in front of us. Neither one of them would acknowledge us pilots from another airline after we greeted them. No reply. Is this common? It was two captains and an FO. The FO nodded but looked scared. Made me a bit worried
hello Airmann,

I'd say your experience with these Emirates pilots has been rather strange.
very often we talk to other airlines pilots when we get the chance.
those three guys might have been a training/checking party with some issues.
or just tension.
applying for Emirates... think about it, but base your decision on some more solid information.
and Dubai is a lot of different places according to who you ask your questions to.
I personally hate it.
my wife loves it.
Go figure!

Regards,

KL
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