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China Southern / Top Flight Aviation

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China Southern / Top Flight Aviation

Old 16th Jun 2012, 05:38
  #1 (permalink)  
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China Southern / Top Flight Aviation

This is worth it's own thread as things are getting out of hand. If you are considering a contract with Top Flight or China Southern, make sure you go in with your eyes wide open.

Top Flight Aviation has issued, and entered into, a contract with China Southern for A330 pilots to be based in Australia. The first pilots started this contract in November 2011. The contract clearly stipulates two options of either 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off, or 6 weeks on, 3 weeks off, with a guarantee of 40% stand down time at home base during the 'on' weeks.

CSA has never rostered anyone according to the contract, and Top Flight have never done anything to remedy the situation.

CSA expects pilots to work 11 days on, 6 days off, for the 3 year term of the contract, with no annual leave and no rosters. Flight duties are advised 3 to 5 days in advance, which means you are basically on reserve the entire time. As for the 6 days off, it sounds great, but CSA only provide one jumpseat per month, so you have to pay your own way home after you have used that one jumpseat. As a result, most pilots are spending 4 to 6 weeks away, with most of this spent sitting in Guangzhou. To date, CSA has not provided any accommodation in CAN after the pilot checks out. Top Flight initially paid an allowance to help cover about one third of accommodation costs, but they are now backpedalling on this, so CAN accommodation is paid out of your own pocket.

CSA and TF have been promising to open an Australian base, as per the contract, for 7 months now, and are using the promise of opening a base to avoid paying accommodation whilst the pilots are based in CAN. The contract does not stipulate a minimum number of pilots to open the base, but CSA have used various numbers to justify not opening the base, each time stating that the required number of pilots have not yet been hired. In the mean time, pilots are footing the bill for meals, accommodation and transport in CAN, even though the contract states CSA/TF will pay.

Overnight accommodation is provided in sub-standard, 2 star hotels. In the case of CDG layovers you are expected to share a 2 bedroom apartment in the middle of nowhere with your Chinese counterpart. This includes sharing a bathroom and kitchen, with Chinese food provided in the fridge by the company. The Chinese pilots have allowances paid into their salary, but to date, China Southern has never paid any of the foreign pilots allowances in CDG and Top Flight has never chased it up. If you are not up to sharing an apartment with a chain smoker whilst living on instant noodles, you can pay for your own accommodation elsewhere. All other layover hotels are of a similar shitty standard.

Top flight get paid by CSA at the end of each month, but have progressively pushed the date on which they forward each pilots payment to him from the 3rd of the month, to the 8th, to the 15th and now they are saying the 18th. This means you are getting paid 7 weeks in arrears. Any communication with the US based principal of Top Flight, DW Matthews is responded to in gobbledegook that makes absolutely no sense. In one case, Top flight have not paid one pilot, using the excuse that CSA have not paid them. Queries to CSA have revealed that CSA have indeed paid Top Flight, who are simply dishonest, and are keeping the salary for themselves. TF representatives in China rarely reply to emails, and when they do, provide no useful information.

Al Symers is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2012, 00:52
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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Believable! Sad reality Ouch!
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Old 17th Jun 2012, 02:17
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Thanks for the post Al. For the type of money being offered and the so called you beaut conditions, it was all too good to be true.
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Old 17th Jun 2012, 03:07
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Of course,,.it's china..what they've offered to what you actually received will guarantee to be different.
etops777 is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2012, 15:29
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any other feedbacks from CSA with Parc Aviation? I believe Parc is doing a better job than TF.
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Old 18th Jun 2012, 16:51
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The problem isn't the Chinese, its Top Flight.
Al Symers is offline  
Old 19th Jun 2012, 02:44
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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The only party that doesn't consider the Chinese the problem........is the Chinese.

T minus 2 days and counting, and I am outta China.
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Old 19th Jun 2012, 19:38
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So where to next John. Maybe try India. On the way pick up your sidekick in Vietnam "THE GROVE"-Well he is also on short finals.
EX BLUE STORK is offline  
Old 19th Jun 2012, 20:23
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Join Date: May 2001
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Al- a little research on the agency prior to signing would have helped. They have a similar reputation from their dealings with/ for CA pilots. Just wait till you try to leave, even on completion of the contract term!
Karunch is offline  
Old 21st Jun 2012, 12:17
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Chinese jobs

I have heard many stories about Chinese operators and their lack of respect for contracts and their associated terms and conditions. I had thought about applying for one of these Chinese jobs, but I have been warned by so many people not to do it. The common response is that these operators can not be trusted. It's no wonder they are offering so much money, because no one will go there.
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Old 21st Jun 2012, 16:15
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Air China like all of these operators pretend to adhere to the contract when convenient but when required will completely ignore it. Overtime for example, days off, annual leave. They just don't get it, they do what they want. The brokers get it but don't have the power to alter the airlines position and don't have the balls to try to as it is lucrative for them to do what the paymaster demands.

Its a crappy situation. Tread carefully.
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Old 29th Jun 2012, 10:43
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A good summary of the current pilots frustrations and Top Flights attitude to the people it signs contracts with....from one at the coalface.

"Firstly, this is what is currently being advertised on the Top Flight website Top Flight - Jobs and Career Listings for American Pilots in Chinese and Australian Airline Markets - FAQ & Links

"Top Flight Australia Division is tasked with setting up and the procurement of A330 rated captains for the Australian A330 bases in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane for our client airline in the P.R. of China."

OK, so you are still advertising for three bases....

"Who is R G? Currently working full time on the Top Flight Australian pilot recruitment. Extensive international wide body and Australian domestic experience. R is one of the team in Australia tasked with the recruitment of pilots and operation of the Australian bases."

Not a good advertisement for you R, makes the current mess look like your fault (which isn't entirely true). I'd change that bit.

"Top Flight’s P.R.of China airline client has a requirement to set up three Australian crew bases; Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane."

There's those three bases again.....

"There are a significant number of positions available for the three bases; MEL, SYD and BNE, with Sydney as the largest base.
So Sydney is the largest base? Why are we starting in Melbourne then?

The crew rosters will focus mainly on flying between Australia and the P.R. of China with 80 hours per month planned. This equates to approximately 4 trips per month."

Why are we flying to Europe to stay in shit hole hotels when we are supposed to be flying between CAN and Oz? (I'm in Paris in case you didn't guess).

In a nutshell, if anyone applies to TF now based on what is on the website, you are bringing people to China under false pretences, irrespective of how great the contract might be one day in the future. At the moment it's challenging to say the least, and certainly does not address the clause in the Chinese contract supplement (also signed by D M) that recognises the importance of "time with family" to the foreign pilot group. Yes, we've seen the Chinese contract D.

Secondly, P, how the hell could any self respecting person recommend the current mess to their colleagues? Nothing of the countless promises made by TF have come to fruition, and knowing that, I would be doing my colleagues a great disservice to recommend the job under the current conditions and level of support from TF. When you said to T "I suggest T, we tell them as it is.....we have a signed contract with CSA that is unworkable in its present format...so a new contract will be need to be negotiated that is workable.." why don't you put your money where your mouth is and write THAT on your website. People will not leave a good job to take a gamble on the never never. While you're at it, make sure the website includes this chestnut from D M...

From: D M <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Base
Date: 18 June 2012 1:03:46 AM AEST
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tell them we are going to OZ, their future is in their own hands, we fly 80:00hrs a month and the rest is up to the pilot. Weak sisters need not apply,


Now THAT, I'm sure, will have people knocking the door down trying to get in with Top Flight! I guess D must be a real "hard man" too. Sitting way over there in the US spouting crap like that. I cannot believe his attitude when this current mess is a function of his lack of commitment. The Oz bases are not new, DWM should have had this all sorted out A YEAR AGO, but instead he dropped the mess in P and R's lap, and is content to send insulting drivel in emails that rarely make sense whilst hiding under a rock somewhere in Missouri.

Summing up, P, R, D, please don't send us any more rubbish that insults our intelligence, promotes TF a as wonderful supportive contractor, or asks us to piss in our industry colleagues pockets while telling them it's good for them."

And the situation is getting worse....
Al Symers is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2012, 03:30
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Is Top Flight the outfit Rick Gill is involved with ?
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Old 30th Jun 2012, 04:20
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Top Flight

Hello, I have been with Top Flight over 4 years and never missed a paycheck and find them honest. I am not in Australia and don't know the story. In China it is different things stated in the contract sometimes are interpreted different ways, sometimes good, sometimes bad.

In China the good thing is when anyone's contract is upgraded you will get the "me too" same benefit.

Good luck out there,

On Final
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Old 1st Jul 2012, 09:07
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Aviator asia csa

About to take up the melb base but using asia aviator, any reports as to issues with them at all?

Pm if needed
woodja51 is offline  
Old 10th Jul 2012, 05:02
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2011
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What a disgrace ! How can people put these contracts out there and then not abide by the terms and conditions.
I believe that the Chinese are just as much to blame, because they won't stick to the contract. How can an agency just change the conditons once the contract has started ??

I have heard that some guys have already walked out on China Southern.

Maybe Chinese pilots will accept this type of garbage, but European guys will
not wear it at all. The Chinese will never learn !
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Old 25th Jul 2012, 10:33
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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Just found out that the 'honourable Chinese' are not paying the required tax in China, so anyone who is based in Australia can expect a tax bill of 60K per year from the Australian Taxation Authorities.
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Old 26th Jul 2012, 04:18
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Pls read the Vietnam Airline Tax thread. Much of the same is going on in Hong Kong ?
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Old 29th Jul 2012, 03:53
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There are those of us that have been and those of us that will be........shafted by the Chinese.
The sooner you naive ones realise that lying/deceiving/cheating are like blinking to the Chinese ( ie a natural reflex action ) the better off you will be.

RG was always a very decent person, I doubt much has changed.
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Old 29th Jul 2012, 09:40
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Join Date: May 2003
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Are saying that East of the Ural Mountian and West of the Pacific people are pathetic liars ??

Fly safe and land happy

B737NG is offline  

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