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Tianjin Airlines

Old 9th Apr 2012, 01:01
  #61 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SE Asia
Age: 47
Posts: 40

For those of you that don't understand the consequences of a 1099. Let me warn you.

In most of these contracts the company pays your local taxes. For some countries' citizens as long as you are abroad you pay no taxes. For US citizens you do. And giving you a 1099 makes you official US tax implications affecting your deductions.

Normally you get only two types of deductions. An overseas deduction taken if you live outside the US for 11 months or greater. The other is applying your overseas paid taxes against your US taxes which depending on your country wipes out your US taxes. A 1099 throws a monkey wrench in this game.
pilotss2001 is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2012, 06:13
  #62 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Kuwait City currently
Age: 38
Posts: 20
Care to elaborate?
Avpilot is offline  
Old 9th Oct 2012, 20:19
  #63 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Chicago
Age: 38
Posts: 26
Any update to conditions and recommendations for taking the E190 gig at TJA? 4on/4off schedule sounds at least a little tempting.
goldthop is offline  
Old 10th Oct 2012, 03:50
  #64 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: china
Age: 57
Posts: 324
The best way for Americans to avoid this is don't work for a US based agency. Every party in a contract is going to interpret tax law to their benefit. A US based agency is probably going to claim you are a subcontractor because it is beneficial for them to do so.they will file a 1099 and you will have to pay self-employment tax. In actuality, most countries, including the US, have a "reality test" that legally determines whether you qualify as an employee or subcontractor. This keeps the local McDonald's from calling all their cooks and cashiers sub contractors. It also applies to us as contract pilots.
Best thing to do is just choose a nonUS based agency if you are American.

I don't Use a tax accountant but it might be a good thing to do if you don't understand US tax law for expats. It gets a bit complicated.
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Old 24th Nov 2012, 06:30
  #65 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SE Asia
Age: 47
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Its been a while and there have been several pms to me so I will update.

Currently there are about 30+ Expats at Tianjin in various stages of training and document processing. The company is trying hard to be hospitable and courteous to the pilots. This does not mean that things run smoothly it just means there are no bad intentions. You can stil be fined for QAR violations but this SEEMS to be only after a few violations. Some QARs are finable every time and others are not as important. The CCARs prohibit fining or punishment for QARs so this is a clear idea of what happens and the authority of a pilot in China.

The A320s are arriving and there is some question of how many will arrive. The Chinese government and other airlines have a lot of influence over what flies where and how often. There could actually be a problem of where to fly the new airplanes. Backrooms dealings are everywhere but here in China it is daily business. The new Chinese leader has even made a stinging spotlight to this Chinese culture. If a situation is one sided or unfair it means nothing in China.

The city is growing and cleaning up, but living in China is having one foot in the modern world and one foot 50 years ago. Just when you think everything is shaping up and you are enjoying your morning coffee you will look out your captain's window to see a kid at his mother's urging take a dump on the ramp next to your plane. It doesn't faze me anymore but you will have to get used to it and many other things here in China.

The medicals and checkride continue to be your biggest road block to China. The medicals are becoming increasingly difficult. With partial strokes experienced inflight China has now mandated Carotid Artery sonograms. MRIs are also being added to the list. Getting your medical is difficult but keeping your medical is just as difficult not to mention the false positive testing that has occurred lately. The good part is it is a free medical and you can at least know if something tragic is wrong. However as a friend at Chengdu was recently told he had too much plaque in his heart only to be told he was healthy back in the States. Or another friend in Shanghai who has been told he either has cancer or epilepsy from a brain scan and again told by International doctors that he is completely normal.

Once you get here you have to maintain your medical and that decision is not only up to you but your airline and the CAAC. You really have little control over your future and the relationship of the CAAC and your airline can make the difference. Gifting and "respect" to poorly paid government officials is common business practice in China. You won't do it but your company works the magic on your behalf. How much magic they work is not up to you and again the control of your fate rests with someone else. It becomes very difficult as you age to retain your medical in China. It is very possible and it does happen that people arrive here only to be sent home within six months because of the medical. If you have a good job at home and you have reasonable debts then weigh this carefully in your decisions. You are taking a risk coming here.

There are some upgrades happening from the E145 to the E190 and those are only the pilots who have been here for a few years. No new E145 guys are upgrading yet. No E190 pilots have upgraded to the A320 and there is no plan update for the A330. The A330 is a thought but not reality yet. Remember even if you have a plan, the money, and the equipment to fly in China it does not mean that it jives with the plan of the other airlines and their government allies. Just because Tianjin has all the ambition and resources to have many A320 does not mean it will happen and many things in the decisions are completely out of the control of the management. You don't just apply for routs in China. You have to court your superiors and hope that the other major airlines don't mind you. Its not capitalism or socialism. China is an oligarchy.

We did have a hijacking on the airline it is most likely a target again for revenge. An ethnic minority of 6 people tried a 9/11 style takeover of a plane. The plane had undercover security and people helped over power the hijackers. China is far from a unified country.

Hiring windows in the States:
This will be a big decision for the people now being hired in China. Being at the beginning of a rush in the seniority window in the States can make the difference of a pilot making 40-80K as a first officer or 80-120k as a captain. Or sitting reserve at a base away from home or being a line holder at home in base. Seniority means everything in the States and in China it doesn't mean much.

Shortly in the US there will be almost 1000-2000 captains retiring every year and this is without the next growth cycle. Getting behind those young guys will forever impact your career realizations. There is no crystal ball. You must play the odds of what you know today and what the future is projected to look like.

China is a temp gig and about the time they are catching up here the US will be at the last parts of its boom. Time your arrival with care but time your departure more carefully as you could be left out of the big swing upwards. This will impact you even more because I do not believe in the next 30 years that the retirement age of pilots will remain the same and retirement age will continue to increase.

China realizes this and I expect the salaries will increase here even more than currently advertised. With this in mind I fully expect that in the next contract offer will be the last rise then you will only see moderation of the contract offerings. This next one or two offers will most likely be the peak and in my estimation China starts catching up. The E190 is paying significantly higher than it should and this is purely business. It will change downward faster than it goes up. Don't expect to be here 10 years at this salary rate and with these holidays. The norm is more like 10k per month with a 6/2 contract.

There is discussion of making the holidays a solid schedule instead of a on request basis. There are still many errors and mistakes in the operations and office work of the company. The training is being improved but it is a completely self study course.

The flying is a full schedule. Imagine your two weeks of at the beginning of the month only to return to two weeks of solid flying of about 65 hours. The E190 is transitioning to take some of the E145 routes and some 6 sector days are appearing. The A320 even has some 6 sector days. I expect the E145 to be slowly phased out with the E190 taking its place and the A320 taking the E190 place.

AQP is not fully integrated in China. When that time bomb happens the upgrade times required half. When the F/Os are allowed to land and takeoff and basically fly the airplane without instructors the time will reduce more too. This factor is coming and when I can't even guess. It will happen and the company is pressing hard for this program. When this happens the time length of your money dreams just got cut by 75%.

The company has now confirmed 5 day trips and it is now in the new contract. To help with recruitment we have suggested an option for education. Guys with families here are getting killed for tuition. Maybe more is to come as other contracts are offering education allowances. Education at international schools can take up to half a paycheck with 2 or more children.

Most from my original posts have unchanged and it becomes more a marathon of personal tolerance. There are some things that are still outlandish like fuel spills on the tarmac where the driver doesn't want to move the truck and is cleaning up the spill that is under the plane and truck with paper towels as the fuel spills out faster than he can clean it up. Then they want you to start the plane over the pool of Jet-A. Or the impossible passengers who yell and push the flight attendants because of delays and the non interference policy of the police makes them useless. The passengers will then camp out in your plane for hours hoping for some kind of compensation in the tune of 15USD. Yelling in China is normal. It does not mean a fight its just yelling and they do it all the time. Then there is the who "Face" issue. SOP and CRM is known but not understood. The expats don't help much because when they first arrive they are standard pilots but after about 3 months you stop trying to fight it and fly the Chinese way. (smoke if you gotte'm) You will be pushed to exceed flight hour limits being told no worries we make everything OK.

Make no mistake. China is not paying you all this money for nothing. They have a business need and you are a temporary solution. The money you make will be earned in your flying and non flying duties. There are a lot of situations here outside flying that will not just try your patience but run over it with a truck and then back up over it again and again.

Choose wisely, sit down with your family, talk with your colleagues, and make a decision not based today's money but the whole picture.

Last edited by pilotss2001; 4th Dec 2012 at 08:59. Reason: spellling roster addition
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Old 24th Nov 2012, 13:38
  #66 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Ballymun
Posts: 108
The best post on China on PPRuNe.

PPRuNe Gold.
Silver Tongued Cavalier is offline  
Old 25th Nov 2012, 01:06
  #67 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: USA-China
Age: 53
Posts: 207
Excellent post... Very close to what I experienced while flying there...
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Old 25th Nov 2012, 02:55
  #68 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Egoli
Posts: 301
Except the Medical and Flight testing it sounds like just another day in Africa, just with more money. So it all depends where you coming from.
About the medical, well, one can look after oneself with issues like weight, blood pressure and so on. I am just a bit worried about hearing and eye tests.
As one gets older those things deteriorate and there is not much one can do about that !!!
How strict are they on those?
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Old 18th Feb 2013, 14:57
  #69 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SE Asia
Age: 47
Posts: 40
Latest Notice and something to think about.

Preflight preparation via E-net must be completed within the
required time (12-48 hours before flight), earlier preparation is
allowed for those who have successive flights. One month salary will
be fined for those who did not perform net preparation and failed in
examination (except for the net problem or backup pilots) according to Flight Department Management Manual; for CAAC inspector
representative, CAAC should be reported and it is suggested to
remove the title of CAAC inspector representative; for pilot manager,
the manager post would be relieved immediately.

And this is during the good times. You can imagine what will happen when they want to start getting rid of people.
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Old 6th Mar 2013, 10:45
  #70 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Bandit Country
Posts: 92
PM Please

Please please could someone PM me if they are currently an expat 190 Captain on either a 6/3 wk or month on/off commuting contract at Tianjin. I have been through sceening etc and need some advice. Many thanks in advance,

Toastal is offline  
Old 13th Mar 2013, 15:06
  #71 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Bandit Country
Posts: 92
"C'mon guys throw me a frekin bone here"

Can somebody pleeeease pm me if they are a current E-190 skipper at Tianjin on any roster pattern. I have a seleciton pending and don't want to make any 'life mistakes'

Helps guys

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Old 20th May 2013, 12:40
  #72 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SE Asia
Age: 47
Posts: 40
New Contract

Hello Peoples,

The newest contract is out for Tianjin and more information about the company is coming out to the pilots.

There is a leadership shift in thinking and some leadership change driving the company in a slightly new direction.

A330. May happen in the most distant future. It is an idea. In China there is the practice of over promising and while it is not untrue that they desire to fly the A330 there is no firm plan. This was made clear at the last meeting and the A320 drivers were not so happy about this. This will also slow the upward trend of E145 to E190 and E190 to A320. Surprised? This is how it works here. Don't think the A330 will be here if ever for several years. There may be an A430 on the market by then.

A seniority system of vacation was established to help with the desire of everyone to take off at the same times of the year. ie. Xmas and summer.
It is based on length of service and family. If you have a family here in China it boosts your seniority ranking a bit.

The 4/4 contract has some limitations on it that make it not the plan it seems. Simulator and medical months must only have 7 days off and you many only have 1 Xmas off every 2 years. This causes a 2 week on 2 week off period for two months. With other restrictions it makes the 6/3 more attractive. The people who came here for the straight 4/4 contract were upset at the limitations and are searching elsewhere at the moment. There are many 320 contracts out there that have better quality of life conditions. Northern China is abysmal. At least they are on paper offering Haikou as a base. You would rarely fly here and always deadhead out. This is the most overstaffed base now. It used to be a larger base for Tianjin then it moved North. Many of the pilots have houses there and are required to deadhead out. There is no reason to come here on the A320 when you could be in Chongqing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, or any of the other better livable places. The A320 contracts are very similar in China. Do you want to live in Liverpool or Barcelona?

It may not matter for the new pilots because they will most likely fall outside the new open/closed base definition. Each base will have a stated number of pilots needed. If you are over this arbitrary number, made by Tianjin, then you will be able to be assigned 3 individual 5 day trips a month. If you are on a 6/3 contract this means you are not in your flat most of the time you are in China. This means you are in some dingy cheap Chinese hotel. Enjoy the misery of your new found ultimate drifter status. I would advise you not starting drinking the JD in the darkness of your lonely hotel room. Then commute home somewhere on your days off. You will know a whole new kind of minimalistic life ie. Chinese life.

There are some E145 drivers new here that came on the condition they would upgrade immediately to the E190. This cannot happen as it is not allowed by CAAC rules. They are a little upset and have to sit on the E145 for at least one year on the line. This raised eyebrows on the E145. There are no E190 drivers slated to transition to the A320. Again. It is just an idea not a plan yet.

The time off on this new contract is a little less by about 15 days and the pay is 1K more per month. I think the Chinese think about money only or it vastly outweighs quality of life significance. Unless you have 4 kids with two ex-wives or a gambling problem what can you do with an extra 1k a month when you already make about 16K with 8K quarterly payments for flight benefits and tax relief? I will take those extra days off. If you are here you do not have to sign the new contract but once your contract expires you will have to sign whatever is being offered at the time. That makes a risk of something less than currently being offered a distinct possibility. You won't be needed forever. I expect it to be less next year and the contracts offered change rapidly.

Training pay for transition is now 5K per month. As you transition you have to sign the new contract. This means that in conservative estimates for a training period of 3 months you are at 5K. At a general average for all the A/C and contract options lets say 16K is your pay. 16k-5k equals 11k/month you lose. 11k x 3months equals 33k. Over a 3 year contract 33K equals the pay raise you just got on this new contract. Total gain..... 0. If you are planning to fly bigger equipment think about this. There are several people here that even if offered this transition now will not take it. If you take the transition and leave before the term of the contract you will have to pay Tianjin for the training costs. It is in house training but I promise you will get a CAE style bill.

But there are many new restrictions on this contract. Buybacks were implemented as it is getting difficult to take all your holidays but it makes your buybacks less than normal value.

Due to any training failure, any recheck is paid 50% by the pilot. The second failure is paid 100% by the pilot.

There is no sick leave on the new contracts. Your holidays will be used for sick leave.

The new Chinese social insurance is being implemented by the government and you will have to pay 11% towards this system. Unless you stay here several years you won't get it back. You do get medical insurance in China but it will be in Chinese style hospitals. Good luck with that. It amounts to about 250 USD per month you will never see again.

There are other things in this contract that in my opinion and the opinion of others here that this is not an improvement but pretty much the old contract with more limitations. The presentation left a sour taste in most people's mouth. Even some of the agencies are advising to not sign the new contract and remain on the old one. There may be a selfish motivation for this as the fee for the pilots may have changed too.

Someone asked what is the purpose of this contract. There was no answer.

You can still come here and make money. How long I have no idea. There are so many Chinese in training and the secret of AQP arrival is unknown. I do know with 100% certainty that you are expendable. You are temporary and anything more than a few years as in 2-3 is starting to look at longer gambling odds. If you are slugging it out flying Berlin-Milan 3 times a day and not making any money then I would say yes, come here and make some money and get some time off. Have an exit plan. Many don't stay long. Don't bring your kids. If you don't have a solid marriage and a confident partner don't come. Most don't even make the medical screening or the CAAC check. And that is not talent or skill because I'm here.

Don't read the blurbs about the pay and time off. You really need to understand the contract you are signing. I think this last contract was the peek.

China is changing rapidly. Going from 14% growth to 7% is a massive uncomfortable change. It means the cracks of reality are showing. The wild west is gone if not at least on hold.

Choose wisely.

Last edited by pilotss2001; 20th May 2013 at 12:43.
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Old 27th May 2013, 10:19
  #73 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SE Asia
Age: 47
Posts: 40
Update to new contract

The moans and groans were heard. But really....
and more importantly is was the one pilot who quit in the middle of the meeting and the others that were on the phone to their recruiters to either end their contract or refuse to the sign the new contract that got the attention of the company swiftly.

The 5k during transition training is no longer in the contract but this does not mean if you are a new arrival that it won't be in yours. It doesn't mean that your re-signing, if any, will not include this provision. You will accumulate normal pay during this training time. Everything else stated remains the same from the previous post.

More important news received that the Embraer contract pilots (the ones from Brazil) are terminated as of July 2013. This does mean that Tianjin is catching up with staffing levels and without the expansion plan of the A330 and nothing slated for new orders of the E190 or A320 the projected slots are being filled. At time of writing the Brazilian pilots contract was moderated to a level comparable to the normal contractors.
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Old 6th Jun 2013, 04:37
  #74 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: In the clouds
Age: 41
Posts: 106
hi everyone...been reading this post and was wondering what is the current salary offered to new hires on the E190 !!! actual net salary and what bases are been offered at the moment.

Also, if anyone can PM me with some helpful info on how the application process is and additional (tips, study guides, etc) info would be appreciated..

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Old 12th Nov 2013, 03:37
  #75 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SE Asia
Age: 47
Posts: 40
Its all been written in this and other Tianjin threads.

Its been a while, and I am still getting PMs from people wanting to know what is going on at Tianjin. I no longer work there. I gave it up and moved to a company that pays me much less and I am purely happy. My life has been very pleasant and stress free. I don't grit my teeth anymore. And by chance I do grit my teeth there is not the gristle from fine sulfur bits from air so polluted it makes chemotherapy companies giddy with sugar plum fairies filled with Euros and Dollars.

So lets try to wrap this up. You are looking at Tianjin because something in your life or career didn't go quiet right and now you are looking for options. Why else would you be looking to get yourself out of a cushy spot? Right?

The biggest question lately is about the agencies. Why are some advertising more than others? Because they are lying bastards through and through. All the contracts offered by Tianjin, which Tianjin has paid timely, are exactly the same. How does that add up then? Because one contractor will advertise the base salary with the bonuses so you can see exactly what you get in a break down. The other used car salesman trick that other agencies use is advertising all the bonuses, allowances, extras, and the base salary averaged monthly over the duration of the contract. Sometimes these shady agencies will even advertise pay raises even though they have not been officially approved by Tianjin yet. -Note to yourself - something looks shady already- There are small differences in the contracts such as contract termination times of 30 days or 4 months. There are some other differences like when pay day occurs.

Americans, Yes you must pay taxes and yes you will get deductions. You will have to ALSO pay social security taxes on your wages. I don't care if you really do or not. That is between you and the IRS. But when they come for you, just like an HIV test result, you can't escape whats on the piece of paper they have in their hands.

Flying long term overseas is OK but the skill of flying in China demands managing skills and not so much flying skills. Although you will need all your flying skills to get pass the initial check ride. I was gone for 6 years from my home country. When I returned I had to relearn how to fly. How to use the radio, how to fly in dense airspace with rapid fire communications, how to use an electronic flight bag, how to shoot CATIII approaches, how to shoot RNP GPS approaches, how to fly a visual approach which is never done in China as well as just work in a cockpit that is CRM compared to the one man dog and pony show that a Chinese cockpit is and many other things. You do want to be at the top of your game when you do get that dream job for initial training on an airplane you never flew before right? Think about that.

China is a place that is not pleasant. Its tolerable. Shanghai is a decent place but anything in the North is 30 years behind Shanghai which is 15 years behind in culture to the rest of the modern world. Is it changing? Are there pockets of culture and coolness? Yes. But while you are there for your 3-10 years you won't get that High Street in London look or feel. Just try to get a straight up martini with real top shelf vodka with decent olives. Something simple like your favorite box of cereal or a decent martini will become Sir Galahad's quest.

Tianjin Airlines is not mean they are just inept. They are being guided by some of the expats there and they are trying but telling a person to dance when that person has never known what dancing was is difficult. This often leads to something that is not remotely close to dancing even though they themselves are starting to think they are pretty good at dancing. I believe this is how break-dancing was started. You will have a hair line pushing backwards a few centimeters as you constantly face palm yourself.

Is living in China ideal. No. No and No. Do they pay you lots of money. Yes. Do you lose out on seniority at home YES YES YES. Unless there is some spacial anomaly time marches forward no matter what country you go.

Make a spreadsheet out and list your goals financially and how that necessitates a seniority back home because this because this is big. You will not work in China for the rest of your career. The chance of that just with the medical process makes that extremely remote. There are other factors that will phase you out too but just with the medical alone will kill you of ever getting near mid 50.

Retiring after a few years.... OK look you really need to think about this because I have heard this from too many people. Think this through and talk to a retirement planner because I have heard some really retarded ideas. And when I mean retarded I don't mean it in an offensive way. I mean it in a clinical term. These people are mentally retarded. You cannot work for 6 years in China and then retire unless you had money prior to Asia and plan to live in a yurt. Most of you guys are coming here in your 30s and 40s. We are now living well into our 80s. Stopping work 10-20 years prior to retirement is financial and literally suicide. Every year you don't work prior to retirement you are draining the assets that should be accumulating for retirement. Talk to tax accountants, talk to wealth managers, talk to retirement advisers to give you a real sense of what your life costs.

In the EU things are barren. More barren than my grandmother and she's 86. The US market for pilots is heating up and 3 years is decent but anything longer than this will slowly drive nails into your career coffin. Tianjin really doesn't hire the young guys. You can read some of my posts why. But assuming you are in your 30s and 40s you are probably planning to return to the States. The benefit of fast rolling numbers is lots of people like yourself get hired. The curse of fast rolling numbers is alarmingly vast amounts of younger than you pilots get on that same seniority list. I've just returned to my home country and there are people with no commercial PIC already being hired into the flag carriers. These people will not retire before you. They are forever a ceiling on the list. Europeans will have more leeway in time unless you fancy Ryan Air. My advice to fellow Eurozoners is to catch one of those American university girls on their EU trips and lay down your native accent thick. Get the US passport and watch your seniority rise faster than a rocket and then move back to the EU to retire.

The economy has started its next cycle. The world is rebounding and the time to the next downturn is already ticking. Choosing to stay 6-10 years in China is a HUGE gamble if you want to return to your home country. Look back at former economic cycles and pilot hiring. Don't set yourself up to be stuck on the F/O list or worse yet on the street. Now look at the other end of the timeline. That guy who leapfrogged you back home on the seniority list has been sitting pretty at the top of the seniority list looking down from his A350 cockpit with the Tuesday-Thursday trip to Aruba and weekends at home. Don't be stuck on standby for the rest of your career.

Here are the mandatory captain retirements at just the 3 largest airlines in the US in the next 10 years and this does not include any of the other low cost carriers, commuters, and corporate flying. And this does not account for new rest rules or expansions just pure mandatory retirements.

Year - Mandatory Retirements
2014 - 794
2015 - 836
2016 - 937
2017 - 1141
2018 - 1390
2019 - 1629
2020 - 2128
2121 - 2364
2122 - 2191

If you have no where else to go then China is a real option but to put yourself out of a seniority number at this point is something to think about. You can always go overseas if you get furloughed but you can't go back to a seniority number you never had.

Don't fall for the large blocks of holiday. That 4 weeks on and 4 weeks off is a brutal schedule. You will still fly about 800+ hours in a year with that contract. I'm not very senior at my company but I still get 16 days off with holidays, Xmas, and New Years. Well that's damn close to a 6 weeks on and two weeks off contract and almost a 6 weeks on and 3 weeks off too. And I get my perfect martini with real vodka. What good are days off if you are too tired to live the simple pleasures?

So before you PM me again read all the messages about Tianjin.
Tianjin is of course going to tell you its comfortable and they even have some pilots there that will tell you its paradise until you arrive and meet the rest of the pilots and they are generally frustrated at life. Hey, you make the big bucks for something not because they think you are a nice guy.

You are most likely here on this board looking at this message because of some financial crisis, your airline is dying, or you really could use some time away from that troll you call your wife and you might as well make some money and come down with "Yellow Fever" in the process. There are lots of reasons but something at home is not working.

I will leave you with this simple phrase I heard once on a short wave radio that I picked up from what I thought was a Southern Baptist preacher

"Son, let me tell ya, you see that green grass, and you want that green grass your neighbor has, and you covet it, and you want it, and you even love it. But Son, let me tell ya, YOU JUST AIN'T SEEN THE WATER BILL."

- China is much more than just about the salary and time off. You can't live like you live at home. All those comforts are gone in China.

Last edited by pilotss2001; 15th Nov 2013 at 19:43.
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Old 14th Nov 2013, 03:09
  #76 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Romania
Posts: 27
Pretty interesting post.


Careful with the analisys...the economy is in an upturn and airlines are expanding in USA and Europe...let's see what 2014 will deliver. Hope we will not be in another Lehman collapse and again, loads of pilots will end up jobless. I recall airlines hiring in Europe as there was no tomorrow in 2006/2007. They stop hiring at the end of 2007. Reductions and unpaid leaves in 2008. Companies bankrupt in 2010-2012.
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Old 16th Nov 2013, 06:01
  #77 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 175
Tianjin Airlines now hiring Embraer E145 captains again

Tianjin Airlines is hiring Embraer E145 captains again. As before, they are promising a transition to the Embraer E190 and eventually the Airbus A320.

The posts by pilotss2001 have been generally accurate if a bit negative. Some people like it in China, others donít. I highly recommend reading all his posts.

Iím going to attempt to lay down the facts here without as much commentary. These are the things your recruiter probably wonít tell you about. Your recruiter gets a commission on successful placement so be sure to understand that. Your recruiter can be a powerful ally as well and a great resource so be sure to research the many different recruiters. Itís important you understand these facts before you make decisions about flying in China.

No one has ever transitioned to the Airbus A320 at Tianjin Airlines nor are there any scheduled plans to do so. They still talk about it though. If you get hired today to fly the Embraer E145 it would likely be 4-5 years before such an opportunity presented itself assuming you successfully transition to the E190 first and completed the 3 year contract. Everything will likely change before then.

Historically the transition to the Embraer E190 occurs after about one year but varies depending on when you start. Tianjin Airlines frequently cancels classes at the last minute and change dates and contract terms for Embraer E190 transition training. They have been saying ďimmediate upgradeĒ without ever having to actually fly the E145 for a long time but itís never happened.

The current contract for the Embraer E145 at Tianjin Airlines is not as good as it was last year. No one has ever been hired under this new contract (at the time of this post). The new contract is for about the same money as the old contract but with fewer vacation days, no sick days, heavier restrictions on when you can take vacation days, and greatly reduced salaries during transition training (although this last part may get removed due to its intense unpopularity). Also the new contract requires you to pay for any additional training you may incur. It is very common for pilots to fail line checks and sim checks in China for what seem like insignificant reasons. Often pilots are sent for additional training for common occurrences such as QAR warnings caused by wind shear or other uncontrollable factors. Financial penalties are sometimes assessed for these things depending on the pilotís attitude and history but I'm not sure if they will require you to pay for the additional sim time you will get since these contracts are still pretty new.

There are a few weird caveats in the new contract such as losing vacation days when you are sick (you will get sick occasionally when you live and fly in China). Also there's a clause stating that when there are any inconsistencies between the English and Chinese version of the contract the Chinese version will prevail (Good luck figuring that out).

[edit - added]Another thing the recruiters avoid telling you is that when you start training you don't get any vacation and you only get 60% of your agreed contracted salary with Tianjin Airlines for the first 45 days. After 45 days you get 80% salary until you complete your final line check and make your first flight as a solo captain (the 45 day period can be reduced if your paperwork goes through a bit faster but you have no control over this and it rarely happens). This entire period of initial training can take anywhere from 3-6 months. Your vacation schedule begins on that same date you go to 100% salary with no credit for the time spent in training.

You get paid on the 15th of the month following the work completed so you won't see your first paycheck for a while. Tianjin Airlines only pays the first 30 days of living expenses at a hotel (good hotel but isolated). Normally in China you must pay rent for your apartment several months in advance plus a security deposit. Rent is similar to the cost in the U.S. depending on the location, size, and city. You will need some cash to get you started in China...probably at least five thousand dollars cash on hand or you will go broke, hungry and homeless before you get your first check. U.S. ATM cards usually work in China and you can get Chinese money out of an ATM on a foreign account but you will pay fees.

Since half your salary is paid in Chinese currency you will probably need to find creative ways to convert it to U.S. currency and take it home. It's not always easy but most pilots have figured out creative ways to do it.

Many pilots have chosen to keep their old contracts (especially those flying the E145 or the 4/4 E190 schedule who had little financial reason to change it) but Tianjin Airlines is still attempting to impose new restrictions on old contracts causing some friction among the pilots. An example of this is the new policy requiring pilots on the 4 weeks on and 4 weeks off (one month on and one month off) vacation cycle to rotate each year to avoid having the same months off every year. Since this wasnít entered into the old contract which many pilots still use itís unclear if the company can force pilots to accept this change if they donít want to. Generally the Chinese donít see contracts as binding in the way we do in the U.S. But they will still expect you to honor your terms.

Also, if you come here as an E145 pilot, when you transition to the Embraer E190 you are subject to signing whatever contract is in effect at the time you finish transition training. The contracts have historically been updated every year or so. This means the E190 contract you are expected to sign will likely be different than the one in effect when you signed the initial Embraer E145 contract. You are required to sign a letter of intent to sign the contract before you begin training but the actual contract is signed after training many months later. It may change during that time. They usually have different requirements and incentives in the contract for transition training than for new hire Embraer E190 pilots. Generally transition pilots have fewer options.

All this means that if you come to Tianjin Airlines as an Embraer E145 captain and plan to transition to the E190 you can expect you will be under contract a total of 4-5 years from when you start your E145 contract. Don't think you will go and fly the E190 right away and be finished in just three years.

You are expected to pay $20,000 USD for your transition training after you are already hired by withholding $2000 from your salary over a ten month period starting when you begin training. The company will reimburse this fee to you gradually over the three year contract but will penalize you if you quit your contract early. Donít expect to see the first reimbursement until about a year and a half after you begin transition training.

Currently the contract states your salary will be reduced to $5,000 per month during the first part of transition training (about 2 months or so). No one has been subjected to this yet because no one has yet gone through transition training that was initially hired under these new contract terms. As stated in the other posts Tianjin Airlines tried to impose this policy on the old contracts but it was changed. Each time a transition class has occurred (I think itís two or three times total??) the terms of the training have been different.

You are also expected to forgo any vacation (trips home to see your family) until you have fully completed training and are a "solo captain" flying with a Chinese first officer. This applies to initial and transition training and your vacation will not accrue during this time. Transition training can take 4-6 months. If you transition quickly to the E190 don't expect to get to go home much in that first year. You are not allowed to select the four weeks on and four weeks off schedule until after a year or so.

Tianjin Airlines latest ads for Embraer E145 pilots state bases in Tianjin and Hohhot. Tianjin is where the majority of foreign pilots are based. There are currently no foreign pilots based in Hohhot and being located in Inner Mongolia it can get very cold there but thereís less pollution. Research the cities. I donít think there are many foreigners living in Hohhot at all compared to Tianjin and itís pretty remote. You donít necessarily get to choose your base despite the recruiters saying that you do.

If you are ďhiredĒ by Tianjin Airlines your chances of completing the screening are pretty small historically. Maybe 20-40 percent of ďhiredĒ pilots completes the screening and is able to report for training and get paid. I believe there was one instance during the past year where some seven or eight guys from one U.S. carrier all failed to pass screening during the simulator test. These are people who are currently flying the type as a line captain. After you go on payroll and start initial training you have maybe a 10-20% chance of washing out. Several pilots have spent four months on initial training only to be released by the company after failing a line check. You normally have to do two days of line checks with four legs each and two different check airman on two separate occasions to pass. Thatís a total of 16 line checks segments. The simulator checks are separate; normally just the one for the CAAC and then every six months just like the U.S.

The main thing that pilots have difficulty with in the sim evaluations is the multiple failures and max crosswind landings. If you plan on taking the sim check screening take a chance to practice single engine 30 knot crosswind landings in the sim back home. If you canít land on the centerline, maintain the centerline, land on the touchdown zone and land on speed without exceeding 1.6Gs you probably wonít pass. A perfect Chinese landing is smack on the centerline at the 1000 foot marker at exactly Vref and not too hard and not too soft. Donít try to impress a Chinese check airman by ďgreasing it onĒ or you will fail. You donít need to be perfect but you need to be consistently close and clearly in control. The Chinese are very mechanical in their flying technique. Once you get used to it itís not that hard to fly this way.

The good news is I donít think anyone has ever failed transition training and even if you do Tianjin Airlines says you can just go back to your old plane and finish your original contract. I believe there are only a handful of guys ever to have actually taken transition training at Tianjin Airlines and there are four going through simulator right now. Once you get past that first hurdle of coming to China and learn how to ďfly ChineseĒ itís much easier to transition to a new type than it is to complete initial in a type you are already flying. Itís ironic that the Chinese airlines spend so much effort to recruit new pilots from overseas rather than focus on keeping the pilots they already have.

Another major consideration you must make is that if you come to Tianjin Airlines or any other airline in China hoping to jump to another airline later keep in mind that you are legally beholden to the company that sponsors you. They own your resident permit, your work permit, and your CAAC ATPL certificate. Itís unlikely an airline will allow you to go to another airline unless your contract has expired and even then some airlines have tricky clauses built in to automatically renew your contract (remember the part about the Chinese words prevail when thereís a discrepancy in the contract?). While Tianjin Airlines is the only Chinese airline currently recruiting Embraer E145 and E190 pilots there may be better opportunities out there. Some airlines recruit experienced pilots directly into other types but itís very rare at this stage.

Donít expect to stiff the Chinese and skip town in the middle of the night. Several pilots have done that and have burned their bridges. They will never get a solid referral and will never get to go back to China, even as a crewmember on another carrier. Try explaining to your new company why you canít go on that trip to China.

I would like to go on and discuss some of the positives of living and flying in China simply to provide a counter point to the excellent posts made by pilotss2001 but I wanted to keep this post to just the hard facts. As I said before, some people like it here and some donít. The best way to avoid coming here and not liking it or coming here and failing is to understand the facts first and decide if you still want to come.

Pilotss2001 made some excellent points about the state of the airline industry in the United States and the potential opportunities opening up. Itís happening very suddenly but it is happening. Many of the U.S. pilots at Tianjin Airlines are looking to go back and ride this next boom while some are planning on making a long term commitment to China.

Last edited by lifeafteraviation; 16th Nov 2013 at 07:01. Reason: minor correction - additional info
lifeafteraviation is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2013, 07:23
  #78 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: UK.
Posts: 124
Thanks for a very informative post.
I am due to head over for screening as a 190 captain shortly, and am understably a little apprehensive. I have read lots on here and other sites about living in China, and still wish to come and have a look.
I am a current 190 captain in Europe, and will be jobless shortly so this opportunity is one I am keen to progress.
My expectations are low, and I can generally roll with the punches so I hope I can hack it.
It would be great if you could post again with the positives of living and working out there when you get the time to do so.
A few questions in the meantime though.

I would be trying for the month on / month off contract in order to keep my family living at home, and me still able to see them. Is this contract all it appears? Will I realistically get close to a month back home (allowing for travel of course).

The staff travel rates, are they 25% off or 75% off regular ticket price? I have seen both stated in various places...

I understand contract is for 80 hours a month, do they genuinely pay $200 per hour over that or is it avoided by splitting the month as alluded to earlier in the thread?

Could you please outline a typical working day, if there is such a thing? No. of sectors flown, challenges, issues etc.

Any other info would be greatly received.
Thanks for your time.

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Old 20th Nov 2013, 00:18
  #79 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 175

I'm glad you are interested in Tianjin Airlines but there are clearly a few things that you aren't being told about.

I am a current 190 captain in Europe, and will be jobless shortly so this opportunity is one I am keen to progress.
If you are going to be jobless anyway then you have nothing to lose and you should give it a shot. There are a lot of Europeans in Tianjin.

My expectations are low
That's good! So you may actually have fun.

I would be trying for the month on / month off contract in order to keep my family living at home, and me still able to see them. Is this contract all it appears? Will I realistically get close to a month back home (allowing for travel of course).
There is no month on month off anymore as you describe. The contract is different as of this year. You have four months you can take a month off, and two months where you can take just three weeks off. Those two months are arbitrarily set by the company based on your simulator recurrent schedule. In addition, every February you are on a two week on and two weeks off schedule for one month in order to reverse the cycle of which months you are off. For example, you can't take Christmas off every year. This means you will need to buy seven round trip tickets per year, not six.

Of course you'll be making good money so you should be able to afford it. Don't forget to factor in an apartment. If you're lucky you can get a room mate and reduce living costs because you won't be spending that much time in your apartment anyway flying the E190.

The staff travel rates, are they 25% off or 75% off regular ticket price? I have seen both stated in various places...
This is only for domestic travel. I'm pretty sure anyway. The other thing is those are only discounts off a full fare ticket which is almost always more expensive than what you will pay online. must pay the full taxes on the ticket. In China ticket tax is something to the tune of 60%. So just ignore sounds great when coming from a recruiter but it's useless. You can expect to buy tickets at retail cost (online discounts) or better yet any deals you can obtain with your current airline.

I understand contract is for 80 hours a month, do they genuinely pay $200 per hour over that or is it avoided by splitting the month as alluded to earlier in the thread?
This won't apply to you if you accept the month on/ month off schedule. There is no overtime for that schedule even if you somehow manage to go over 80 hours in 16 days (I have actually done this by the way). And yes, overtime is paid per calendar month, not scheduled month. Typically what you can expect is to fly about 60 hours per calendar month in a back to back schedule per rotation which comes to about 120 hours for each one month schedule spread over two calendar overtime is paid. There is no limit and the 60 hours is approximate. As I said, sometimes it's possible to do 80 hours of flying in about two weeks.

Another thing is Chinese flight time and duty time regulations are not the same as ICAO standards so you can expect very long duty days that can exceed 14 hours back to back and occassionally more than eight hours of flying per duty day, especially on the E190 or A320.

Although such working days are common there are some days that go much easier of course. It's just that the average on time departure rate is around 50% so you are almost always late and exceed your schedule. The lines out of cities other than Tianjin tend to be a bit easier.

A lot of people do this and enjoy it but the ones that enjoy it the most are the ones who don't have as much experience flying for other airlines. You can certainly make a lot of money...more than just about any other flying job in a regional jet. To some people the money is enough to justify the challenges but to others it's not. Like I said, if you're out of work anyway it's worth a shot.
lifeafteraviation is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2014, 10:57
  #80 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 175
OK....are there any international laws against misleading and outright false ads for job recruiting?

Hopefully it's not illegal to tell the truth so let me set a few things straight here.

The latest ad from Tempo Aviation reads....

E190 & E145 job captain jobs, great pay package, choices of roster pattern, A320 rating provided
Rapidly expanding Chinese regional carrier is looking to recruit current E190 Captains to fly their brand new aircrafts.

Great package, comfortable roster pattern and brilliant training opportunities. The Airline offers A320 type rating training to E190 captains after a period of service.

The contract can offer:

Upto US$17,000/month after tax service fee for E190 captains

Ascending annual bonus up to US$15,000

Choice of roster patterns including one month on one month off

US$8,000 travel allowance and discounted tickets for pilots and family

Bases in Hainan Island and other locations
First of all, I don't know how current this is. To my knowledge they aren't hiring any E145 Captains. They haven't in more than a year and a half. The E145s are slowly being sent to Africa to fly for another carrier and they have scaled back the operations.

The rest of the ad is not very accurate. See my posts above.

Tianjin Airlines has NEVER, transitioned a foreign captain from an EMB to the Airbus nor are there any current plans to do so. They've been making such promises for years now but have never stepped up or even said if they ever will. There are foreign Embraer captains that have been at Tianjin Airlines for almost five years now.

It is definitely a good pay package but not a comfortable roster. The E190 and A320 captains fly very long days back to back and typically spend five days on the road at a time in sub standard hotels. Anyone who tells you the hotels are ok hasn't stayed in a decent hotel in a long while.

There is no longer a one month on one month off roster except for people still on the old contracts. The new contract is one month off just three times a year only...then two months where you only get three weeks off (training months), and one month where you get two weeks off and two weeks on. Also the pay is 4K less per month for this option.

There's only one slot for a foreign captain based in Hainan island and it's "bases."

Also, you start out at only 60% pay for the first 45 days, then 80% until you complete your ground and line training through line check which typically takes anywhere from three to six months. Also, no vacation or travel home is allowed during this period and vacation time doesn't begin to accrue until you are at 100% pay so don't expect to go home soon after you arrive.

Just trying to set the record straight...I hate misleading advertising trying to take advantage of pilots.

That being said... this is not necessarily a bad opportunity and there are many good things about this company as well. Just please don't take the BS hook line and sinker and then regret it later.
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