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Middle East airlines: dream or not?

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Middle East airlines: dream or not?

Old 5th Dec 2020, 22:27
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Rome
Posts: 25
Middle East airlines: dream or not?

Hi, I was wondering how the environment is by working for the 3 big Middle East airlines as a pilot.
This is for a lot of student pilots and pilots a life goal to fly long haul for them!
I want to ask if anyone who worked for those airlines can share his/her experience in order to evaluate negative and positive aspects!
Thank you!
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Old 5th Dec 2020, 22:43
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You're a slave. A disposable tool with an employee code or ID that can be used and thrown away and let go when not needed anymore. Even if you are a famous IG influencer that the company uses for PR in good times.
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Old 5th Dec 2020, 23:37
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I feel that the expat dream has lost for anyone for the foreseeable. Many friends have lost their jobs in the Middle East. People in the recruitment pool for all airlines have been told sorry and removed. The Far East is the same story. Pay and conditions are no longer the same.

Long Haul flying is not the dream people hope it will be. Most of the time it can be better to run around Europe on a 4 sector day than fly for 16hrs staring out the window barely awake.

Last edited by Rie; 6th Dec 2020 at 00:12.
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Old 5th Dec 2020, 23:46
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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What a breath of fresh air!!
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 00:15
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and what type of contracts do they have?
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 02:27
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For some nationalities expat flying is an upgrade.

For an American it is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 05:04
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I thought that was the White House?

Many Americans are taxed on their overseas earnings whereas a lot of other nationalities aren’t, provided they satisfy their own countries revenue and tax requirements.

Original question.

The main advantages are tax free earnings and free or heavily subsidised accommodation. This enables people to “play the game” and use the opportunity to save for, pay off, or purchase those big ticket items (including retirement planning) that might be difficult at home. These airlines are not simply airlines, they are emanations of the state and used to project the national prestige of small but very rich nations. They provide the opportunity to fly often very new, big, and well equipped and maintained metal on a wide variety of routes.

The bases are “Rich kids playgrounds” and it can be an expensive temptation to play with the rich kids. If you spend your salary on those things fine, but many people borrow to play. That can be a very, very bad decision when it all goes wrong because they regard bad debt as a criminal offence rather than a civil one, and their jails are testament to people who discovered that reality the hard way.

You are the hired help and rarely will a week go by without you being reminded of that. You will have exactly the same employment rights as anybody else. The “anybody else” mainly being service or construction workers from the sub-continent or far-east. It will not include indigenous citizens. The “rights” will be simple and usually as a result of reluctant fatigue from the criticisms of the UN, vocal NGO’s or “60 minutes” (other investigative TV shows may be available!) The threat of dismissal will be a frequent topic of conversation and will inordinately impact most people’s thought and decision making process. That said, if you keep your head down, plan your own strategy, and mix in a healthy dollop of good luck, there is every chance it will be a positive experience, barring some sort of pan-global crisis.

Never think of it as your home, because it never will be! However it is human nature to want to create a home and surround yourself with home comforts. That is quite easy but don’t forget my earlier warning of not doing it on any form of debt that you cannot readily cover at a moments notice if required!

if you are a cadet it can be a great opportunity for early and rapid exposure to the sort of metal and experience that ordinarily might lie distant in any other country. However do not kid yourself that your frozen ATPL from an unheard of flying club (now academy) is going to cut the mustard. Most of their cadets have come from the Far East and through Australian or New Zealand full time training programmes.

Experienced pilots will usually have thousands of hours of relevant experience. Relevant will often mean jet time with another airline. They often take a “sniffy” view of turboprop or small jet time. A lot of pilots have come from failed airlines. That isn’t a detrimental comment as most of them are extremely professional, experienced and proficient pilots. However it does mean that redundancy is something they have experienced and are in no hurry to experience again. This only serves to exert a subtle or indeed obvious control by threat over a workforce.

If you have a family it can be a good opportunity for young children as school fees are often included in the employment package. Foreign school fees and university fees are often also paid to a greater or lesser degree.

Covid aside, if you are an integrated student at the right schools it is definitely a good opportunity but one that will require a steep learning curve and not insubstantial risk. If you are an experienced pilot going into this with all the appropriate research markers ticked, it can also be an excellent part of your career portfolio. If it is a “dream” then you invariably are a long way from it being a realistic consideration.

And to finish off where I started, if you think these “managements” will ever show you any “respect, dignity or compassion” there is a very high likelihood that would also be your assessment of Donald Trump!
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 05:33
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Covid aside. Except itís only about covid right now and for the next 4 years
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 05:53
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Yes, that’s why I said “Covid aside.”

4 years? Could be 2 years or 5 years or the next 10 years....who knows? Perhaps we should compare crystal balls?

I suspect the economic fallout from all of this will have a lateral impact that goes far beyond sticking a cold needle in the arm of the non-tin foil hat wearers? Government printing presses have been working their little hearts out to provide liquidity throughout the last 9 months. A lot of that cash has been rolled into housing stock, the stock markets and safe haven commodities so that it doesn’t remain as cash.

However........That wasn’t his/her question!
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 07:48
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What a breath of fresh air!!

But He is about right,
Old 6th Dec 2020, 08:56
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Robby : I just posted on the "Fragrant Harbour" forum. Take a look. Even if you do succeed in this environment, never turn your back on the smiling assassin. Good luck with your dream. Kept alive, it fired many of us to success in a very competitive environment. Sadly, in this pandemic crisis, the fallout has created one in which I suggest there will be very little opportunity.Do something else but keep the dream alive and pounce when things get better.
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 19:28
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Just remember two rules.
1. Trust no one.
Never be foolish enough to think that YOU can change things, so be very careful who you talk to, especially in company housing or on the phone.

2. Have an exit plan.
Know exactly what you will do on the day you are fired. It WILL happen
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Old 6th Dec 2020, 20:32
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Simple answer-not. ME is done , not sure where the next good expat location will be . Reference to 2 rules very applicable.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 00:53
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People have very short memories. I give it 2 years and the world will be chugging along and hopefully CoVID will be well and truly in the rear view mirror. Travel will come back and airlines will hire, with plenty of applications.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 09:28
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Join Date: Dec 2014
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For the OP-

I will try to answer from my perspective being a student pilot to flying for one of the big 3 to being now out of employment.
Firstly anyones POV will significantly differ based on their passport. A European/US national have different environment back home and compared to that would feel different living in ME. For someone like me coming from a third world country in Africa/South Asian land, it is a big big upgrade for lifestyle and a paycheck. I obviously did not have any way of directly comparing airline job back home as this was the first, but talking and networking with Pilots back home, it felt a privilege to be working. The environment in ME is what you make out of it. You are living in some other country working for other nationalities, if you put the ego aside, do you work adhering to SOPs and rules, and go home get the fat pay at the end you ll be living a happy life. Those who are not happy with the rules and feel too entitled because its different from there home country can be found whining at lot.

During the entire 1.5 years I spent, more or less the attitude of people , and locals were positive apart from few bad apples ( which can be found at every literally place and company) and favouring of local nationals and knowing the right people to get something done ( which seems unfair, but remember, if I from third world country would go and get a visa to work in US/EU/UK, exact same treatment can be found, so nothing new.)

One personal negative feedback would be the communicating with employees. The whole covid redundancy process though inevitable could have been dealt in a better manner by at least being transparent about the criteria. Although that said, most of my friends in non aviation field worldwide who have been laid off, were not better off in the respect. Hopefully all this gives a clearer picture on what to expect.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 10:43
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I do agree. But whilst I was looking forward to reaching the minimum hours to apply for a job at QR, and I have them now because I am one of the lucky few to be flying for a cargo operator, my interest in trying to experience the expat life at a Middle East airline has totally disappeared. And I am sure I am not the only one.

But truth is that QR and other ME operators are still a better reality than some other outfits.

But I do agree, maximum a couple of years and job opportunities will pop up again.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 16:37
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Beware--the hub-and-spoke model operated by EK, QR, and EY is dependent upon big passenger numbers. That is likely to happen slowly. Expect a number of years of lower demand, which can more profitably be met by 787's and A350's on long thin routes.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 17:30
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If you donít mind a contract not being a contract and conditions that constantly change. 50% salary cut via email and no discussion.
Tax free pay that is what you would get paid in your home country after tax flying the equivalent aircraft but then have to spend twice as much for the privilege of living in the Middle East.
flying more tired and fatigued than you thought possible, 24hr layovers in most places even though the manual says it is a last resort, then getting harassed for sick leave because they use a formula from the 1960ís designed for an office worker not a pilot working around the clock.
Learning company announcements from the news. The clowns have no actual plan. They have lost any direction what so ever.
I really hope karma comes for them and they go broke.
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Old 7th Dec 2020, 18:18
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Come on man, don't talk like that. There are still ex-colleagues (from my POV) working there and I just hope they will keep their job and be happy.

Or, atleast try to!
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Old 8th Dec 2020, 12:57
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Dream???? Not quite. I spent a decade and a half there, left on my own terms, and it was anything but a dream. It was a nightmare.
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