South Asia and the Far East News and views on the fast growing and changing aviation scene on the planet.

China Southern wannabes

Old 3rd May 2015, 10:25
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Germany
Posts: 2
China Southern wannabes

Hi all,

Just been in Guangzhou for the final stage of my selection and met alot of the 'recent' CSA joiners. Needless to say its VERY hard to find somebody happy or at all positive. Pretty much everything in the contract seems to be a lie from what i am told. The 777 fleet seems to be a nightmare which is where i was going so i think i will give it a miss after hearing all this. 1 year training for Non type rated on training pay and incredibly about 6 months training aswell for the current and rated guys joining. Seems CSA have issues releasing foreign Capts to the line. Guys in line training told me that they even fly now with normal line Captains and not instructors(is that even legal) so they dont get a chance for any handling and therfore no closer to Line check. Vicious circle. Therefore with all this extra training time, the opening of bases(still non existent) is significantly delayed which is the reason everybody joined in the first place.

Anyway thought i would pass on the information as im glad i met these guys and convinced me to stay put where i am and not take the CSA plunge....

All the best
Glorifiedtruckdriver is offline  
Old 3rd May 2015, 12:11
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: China
Posts: 14
Thanks for telling it how it is.

Hopefully if the word gets out it will stop guys making life changing career decisions that they might regret for years afterwards.

Good luck with your future endeavours. :-)
chinafly is offline  
Old 3rd May 2015, 16:50
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Neptune
Posts: 28
So what rating you have dude? Not even considering?
coldastone17 is offline  
Old 3rd May 2015, 18:48
  #4 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Germany
Posts: 2
Im on the NG which is why i thought it was a good opportunity to try something else and stay in Europe. However after hearing all the stories, I dont think i have the energy or patience to put up with it for a whole year on reduced pay with limited time at home with the family.

Ill stay where I am. Its secure and i know what to expect which CSA is neither from what i heard.

All the best
Glorifiedtruckdriver is offline  
Old 4th May 2015, 01:45
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: toontown
Posts: 60
If you are coming to CSA for a command, forget it. Yes, they call you Captain and you wear four bars, but you're nothing but. The PIC is always Chinese and you basically do what he does'nt want to do. If he allows you a take off and landing somewhere that's under supervision and most cases if NTR he'll be sitting next to you in the RHS. If you don't mind relief duties and the 2nd CPT title, it's an easy job on the line. It's a constant need to stay healthy medically and prepare for simulators. But a PIC job on a wide body it is not.
outside limits is offline  
Old 4th May 2015, 13:21
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Neptune
Posts: 28
Agree dude, family always a big factor. Enjoy!
coldastone17 is offline  
Old 27th May 2015, 21:08
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Around the block
Posts: 347
interesting news...

I am in the process of potentially applying for the DEC A330, however I hear their screenings are terrible?!

The sim is apparently crazy, and the medical is insane- heard about a guy who needed to give liver biopsi just to check alcohol consuption...

Any feedback on this at all?
Viking101 is offline  
Old 13th Sep 2015, 19:02
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SA
Posts: 14
Any info pls

I am at one of the big ME 3 - looking for DEC A330 at CSA. Any help pls?
Heavy-Jet is offline  
Old 11th Oct 2015, 20:34
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Around the block
Posts: 347
CSA are supposed to be a ok employer, however the medical is still insane.

Also I start hearing more and more about applying as DEC but in reality you only become second in command-ish.

Are the agencies aware of this or they dont really care?

The pay seems great but I am not interested sitting as relief captain if I go for a DEC job.

Culture chock here?
Viking101 is offline  
Old 12th Oct 2015, 23:31
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: USA
Age: 44
Posts: 31
Mr Gammon, are you flying for CSA now or what you just told is based in what you've heard about it ?
Kind regards.

SkullFlyer is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 07:04
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Earth
Posts: 3
Skull flyer

What Gammon says is correct from first-hand experience..

Did he mention the f&$king SMOKING IN COCKPIT, as if the environment in China wasn't polluted enough, despite them have NO Smoking 🚫 Signs everywhere, even at flight check-in.

Funnily enough the CAAC seem to disregard the own rules about smoking even though it is a "serious" offense, but don't lose your Crew ID (CAAC Boarding Pass) then the chain smoking official at the CAAC and his 2 pack a day colleague at CSA will ground you with no pay for 90days..

intrestingly they don't even realize how obvious the smell is on themselves as they waltz through the international terminals stinking like an ashtray..
Flappy2 is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 15:44
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Home soon
Posts: 1,969
1 million chinese a year die of smoke related disease/cancer.
Always a price to pay.
de facto is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2015, 08:24
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Around the block
Posts: 347

Seems CSA are years behind the evolution airline industry.

Money looks good but after reading all of this, it's clearly not worth it at the moment.

How is it possible that even being type rated the training is 6months? That's dumb. NTR 1 year training is a waste of time too.

I was hoping to join CSA and base myself in Australia, but I'm too old for going back to the right seat albeit wearing 4 stripes.... And having someone all over the controls when I'm flying then there would be a slight CRM issue developing in the flight deck
Viking101 is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2015, 12:01
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: europe
Posts: 96
Mr GF speaks the absolute truth in his post of how it is to work for CSA. No BS just an insight into the life at CSA for expats.

If you are an Aussie or have your heart set on living on Australia and you are Airbus rated then it seems that you could have yourself a nice stable life at CSA.

Unfortunately for the rest of us things are not quite so rosy. The 787 guys had a base open in AKL for 1 month before being closed. They are now enjoying a base in Vancouver for the last few months but that is due to close in March when the route changes to a 777 and therefore they are all back to CAN based commuting............again!!! When you look at the commuting option in CSA you will see that there are numerous better offers out there with higher salary, more days off, guaranteed business class for commuting, month on month off options etc etc. None of which CSA offer. Sure the money is good in CSA but it is by NO means one if the best anymore. They justify this by saying that they have the RSP(out basing) option which the others dont offer. This is true BUT the bottom line is that other than Australia, they cant seem to make an RSP work. The bases either close or as Mr GF already mentioned, turn from AMS base to an EU base overnight where you are your own travel agent booking tickets all over Europe at your own expense to then find out that your flight has been changed AGAIN, for no reason other than the fact that they just cant leave the roster alone once 'published' so you are now arriving back to a different airport so the ticket you booked is lost, again........just like that. Reimbursement you say............noooooo!!!

So in short if your Australian, Airbus rated and dont need your ego massaged on a daily basis then this can be a good option for an easy life and good money.

For the rest of the Europeans or Boeing rated then think long and hard what you want before signing up with CSA. Sure it COULD be a great job, but what is required behind the scenes to turn that fantasy into a reality might take longer than most of us have the patience to give this job.

Cheers all,
mach85 is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2015, 13:54
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Earth
Posts: 3
Mach 85

Mach 85 is correct with a caveat - a lot but not all of the Aussie RSP based guys, are on LOA from Qantas, so for them it is a money making exercise (while the rate of exchange works in their favour) with an exit strategy already planned..

For the rest, who don't have that luxury (LOA), the unrealized potential and silliness of how things operate, add an additional layer of stress on top of that for loss of medical risks, draconian punishments (lightening strikes etc)
(This Delta Crew would have been severely punished Delta plane hit by lightning -
and training... Where to start? And you have many frustrations, including the fact that A320/737 jobs in China pay more as MACH suggested..

To be fair some of it is on the CAAC, who are run by sycophantic apparatchiks, who have no understanding of what a pilot actually does...

Anyone care for a cigarette?
Flappy2 is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2015, 17:11
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: World
Posts: 481
Ah ah ah... Here in China there is no easy place for WB captains. I enjoy the job as A 320 captain: more money , more vacations , better contracts,
joe falchetto 64 is offline  
Old 16th Oct 2015, 13:20
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Here and there
Posts: 56
Many pilots like ' flights of fantasy'.

When reality shatters the dream, the first move is to bitch and whine in order to get what they want; make reality into their dream. When that doesn't work, they tell the company that it doesn't know what it is doing and that the individual has the solution all mapped out ready for the company to accept. This plan always ends up being ( co incidentally) best for the individual but, not necessarily good for anyone else.
Big mistake in Asia and probably everywhere else.
You are there because it suits some plan , not because they need or want you.

Personally, I have had an easy time.
Very short flight training( 3 flights) , generally flown with gentlemen.
Suppose it was because I have a bit of experience.
Often take off and land ; more than I care to.
There are two crews so the work has to be shared.
I have no need to get my ego massaged.
Have signed documents before take off so, perhaps I have been PIC ..... do I care?
Heavy crew so , I only work half the duty...... That's good.
No stress about fuel, schedules.

I would suggest that those who are complaining on Prune have transitioned from narrow body and the trainers are making inputs because they don't trust the trainee or like what he is doing.
Training techniques are very different from Western airlines as is language and that is probably why they prefer experienced pilots who don't need training.
If you need someone to hold your hand, maybe not the place for you.

Problems with basing/commuting should be sorted out with your agency, not the company or bitching on Prune.
Your version of the truth may not be the same as another's.

If you don't like it, or you don't get resolution or can't stand it, you should vote with your feet.
You could even consider moving to China or moving to domestic fleets and get even more money! Before you do that, I would take a moment to work out why you would get more money to fly smaller aircraft ,domestically. Got to be a reason for it.
Plastic fantastic is offline  
Old 16th Oct 2015, 14:48
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: A hemisphere
Posts: 184
Nice to hear another viewpoint Plastic fantastic.

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience/viewpoint!
twentyyearstoolate is offline  
Old 17th Oct 2015, 06:55
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Earth
Posts: 3

Hmm just 3 flights, even as a DEC, as some of us are, seems awfully quick...

Attempt is not to start a fight on my part..

Absolutely agree life is what you make it, but always nice to know what life to expect.. but your suggestion to sort out bases etc with the agency, of course the agency is the conduit through which to channel complaints, but only the airline can sort out the issues and sometimes there seems a disconnect between what the agency says should happen and the reality on the ground..

With respect to what GF, Mach or myself suggested, wouldn't suggest that is the experience of 100% of the guys, but certainly a lot of the guys.. As I alluded some of the delays are outside the airline's control ( I think CSA are equally frustrated), my only observation, however, whereas expats must be mindful of the culture of the country/Airline they are in, respect is earned when that cultural sensitivity is reciprocal especially in light of the incorporation of expats into the operation..

From a personal viewpoint, CSA has some experienced guys, whether NB or WB rated previously, with former Base Managers, Instructors, Safety Managers, Recruitment Pilots etc perhaps they could select an expat pilot rep(s) to form a signal channel of dialogue, rather than a dozen agencies trying to feed info (info overload/ analysis paralysis).

Anyone for a cigarette
Flappy2 is offline  
Old 18th Oct 2015, 10:31
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Here and there
Posts: 56
I did not want to be drawn into this but, here goes.


I was incorrect about my training flights; It was 3 days of 2 sectors = 6 in total.
I am sorry to mislead you.
They were happy with the standard, I met whatever minimum there was and then passed the Check , which was a couple of days later.
I have to say that I found it easy , say no more.

There was a bit of a delay before I started and I was offered another fleet but, I could see that there would be long delays along that route and decided to wait and do what I know how to do.
Turned out to be a wise move, I think.

On your idea about Expat Pilot group representatives, it is an old idea that has never happened in any Asian airline that I have worked for.
It is their cricket set and it will stay that way.


There is a lot going on in the company, in a country where change is slow at best and maybe almost non existent . It may take decades or never come good.

I have heard of the penalty culture but, I have never been penalized nor have I heard of anyone who has been.
Perhaps someone can present some one who has.

Never had any problems with QAR and I consider myself to be a "competitive" flyer.


I am not going to bother countering or arguing because I can see that I will never change your thinking.

You appear to be in pain.

I have but one question.

If it is so bad at CSA, why are you still there?

All the best to both of you.
Plastic fantastic is offline  

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