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Loong Air (Loongair or Loong Airlines)

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Loong Air (Loongair or Loong Airlines)

Old 20th Apr 2020, 18:12
  #21 (permalink)  

Only half a speed-brake
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Commuting home
Age: 42
Posts: 2,838
What is the current situation of foreign pilots already engaged by the airline? Hearsay from the HNA conglomerate is 0 pay since 01FEB, is LoongAir any different?

Without wishing to derail the topic, FlightGlobal runs a very fresh set of CAE PARC advertisements for widebody PIC with CSN. Interesting.
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 02:48
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Middle East
Posts: 44
Due to demand and many PMs, I am now posting this information in public. Seems many people working in China are shy to share information. All I ask is that you also share information that you learn about the process on here in return for my hard work in preparing the below.

Firstly, a warning. Loong Air are very slow at everything. Slow to get your started, slow with permits and approvals and slow with line training. Don't blame the agencies, they have to follow the rules of their incompetent and inefficient clients who sometimes have to follow the rules of the insanely bureaucratic CAAC. I know in general Chinese companies are slow, but it's twice at bad at Loong Air. You will not be allowed to leave China during the training phase. With the lockdown, not possible anyway. Even if you are an existing CAAC license holder, they will make you fly a minimum of 100 line training hours at 20 per month. Average seems to be 150, some even more. Sometimes the trainers will steal your sector and give to the First Officer on the jumpseat. So you will fly less! Ask the agencies about this, you will hear it in their voice even though they don't admit it. Why does this matter? because you will lose 20% of your salary until line check and remember, there is no leave or commuting roster during the line training. Consider this before you apply. Many guys are hurting because of this. If this is a company that needs pilots, why is training so slow? It's an interesting contradiction. Actually, it is not. They fire as much as they hire! (foreigners and Chinese)

China is well known to be a society which places great importance on governing through fear and punishment. This is the default choice to rule people. They don't know any other way to go about it. This company (like all others) is no exception. There are daily threats to pilots promising punishment and penalties. It doesn't even have to be related to flying but other small matters that doesn't impact anything except their ego. They have people in each department whose job it is to find mistakes and incorrect behaviours and report them instantly. I have flown on 4 different continents and probably 10 companies. The Chinese culture towards management of human beings is incompatible with most of the world. Despite the technological advances in this country, they don't seem to understand that a tight grip on your employees is counter-productive to their performance. Anyway, moving on...

The video interview is a new thing because of the virus. My guess is the interview is with the agency. The management here cannot speak in English and require a translator, therefore I doubt you will do the interview with them. Most likely it is just a chat to find out about your situation and not too technical. But anyone who has done it can maybe update us?

Loong Air are hiring expats right now with no change to Ts & Cs. Despite many flight cancellations still every week, they anticipate needing 40 new pilots this year. But warning this is not serve some major expansion. Chinese companies are always firing and hiring. Punishment and fear culture will catch out even the best pilot eventually. That's just how China works. Loong Air is a private Chinese airline and are NOT part of the Hainan group. They are financially very strong or at least they behave like it. The majority of the expat pilots are South American, second largest group is European and a few Koreans. They are a relatively new company and have expanded a lot in the last couple of years. Speaking to friends at other Chinese airlines, Loong Air is more disorganized and progress to get online is slow. They are also less good at communicating in English. The biggest headache with any pilot job in China is the language barrier. This is a big shock at every level (dealing with office staff, instructors and FOs).

Process to get onboard is typical of any Chinese airline but with the virus situation I cannot tell you how it is going to work. Presently, only Chinese nationals are allowed into China. It is very strict, that even as foreign workers with work permits and resident ID, if we leave the country right now in line with our contracted roster block off days, we cannot come back in! Last month you could travel to China but undergo a mandatory 2 week isolation in a government hotel before allowed out to do your business. When they open again, I guess that is what they will do initially.

A lot depends on the agency and how things evolve with the virus. It could be you visit China (when it opens for foreigners again) just once and spend 3-4 weeks here doing all the assessment stages in one visit with the quarantine before. No one knows at this time. During pre-virus times, your first visit to China would be to perform the medical and company sim ride (company sim ride is not normal for Chinese companies). Then you come for second visit to do the ATP exam. Your agency should prepare you for that by giving you access to an online Question Bank. Then you come for the 3rd trip to do the CAAC ATP check ride. If you pass that, you have a HR style interview with management, about 3 different people one at a time.

Yes, the CAAC ATP check ride is as crazy as people say. To pass you need good handling skills and luck. Do not believe your TRI/TRE knowledge and years of experience will put you in a good position to get hired in China. More instructors and experienced captains fail the CAAC sim check compared to low-experience and new captains. More experienced guys have an expectation bias and maybe those reflexes and reaction times are not as good as they used to be 😊. Chinese companies are not interested in your command/decision making skills and War & Peace long briefings. They do not have any idea what you are saying anyway! They just want you to make a greaser landing with RA 1+2 fault, single engine with 30kt gusting 38 x-wind. That is the mentality here. The instructors do not ask you anything technical during the assessment or in line training.

The only 3 questions I was asked by the management (my final stage of the assessment process, after the CAAC ATP check ride) were: 1.) How long will I stay in Loong Air? 2.) Why come to China? (do not say money) 3.) Tell me about your religion and family (strange question but not for China).

If you are interviewing now in April and pass this stage and the next stages, expect first day of ground school in October (6 months away) but again, with the virus situation, it could be very different. Remember, if you are jobless, your first salary is approximately 45 days after ground school start date. Or 7.5 months after the first assessment stage. The first line training flight is 2-4 months after ground school, or 10 to 12 months after the first assessment stage. The process is very long! Many people get frustrated and drop out, so the agencies must begin the process for over 100 pilots to get 40 into the door.

Many items of paper work are required. Every company you worked at must provide a letter of reference confirming "no incidents and accidents", with flying hours breakdown and more. Agencies manage this with you. You will need a criminal background check and your highest education certificates all translated, then notarized by a public notary and authenticated by Chinese embassy in your home country. At some point the notarization and authentication will expire (3 months) and you will have to do them all again mid process!

When ready, you will initially start doing ground school for about 45 days whilst various permits and visas are organized. The ground school is comprised of classes in which the instructor will speak entirely in Chinese with Chinese language presentations. You will sit there like lemons dozing in and out (just like other Chinese pilots). You will sit approximately 10 paper based tests of a very bad standard of English but don't worry, you will "pass" each one.

Once that is done, you need to go back home to obtain the Z work visa from your home country Chinese embassy. This could take up to 4 months, all paid (some people have done in under 2 months). When you return, you will do your initial company OPC. Important: The line training hours are decided based on your initial company OPC performance. There is a minimum of 100 hours for any captain who is new to China. In a normal company that is 45-60 days. Not in China and not in Loong Air. Line training is slow, 20 hours per month BEFORE the virus. Many guys have been told they must fly 200 hours of line training so it took them 1 year! Some recent guys got lucky with 100 hours only but it depends on how nice the instructor is. There is no way for them to reduce this during line training if all is going well. There were signs the line training hours were improving but then the virus hit. They simply do not have enough line training captains for even 6 foreign trainee captains, let alone 40! Again, ask your agency about this, can they give guarantees you will be line trained in under 6 months? Remember your salary is 20% lower because the line training is slow. More pressure from the outside might cause them to change this and it will ultimately benefit you and your salary.

Again, there is no leave during line training. If you want to take time off, it will have to be because of “exceptional circumstances” and will be unpaid. So be prepared to be in China 6 months to 1 year without possibility of going home (unless you live in a nearby country in which you can take your chances to go home when you have no flights – no such thing as standby here). The rosters are released weekly. Sometimes you know what you're doing on Monday just 3 nights before.

The pay is exactly as advertised and on time, no problems with that. The Chinese do not mess around with your money. As of writing, it is 400USD per day for the assessment limited to 10 days. 400USD per day from first day of ground school limited to 60 days. After that, 80% of basic salary plus all allowances until line check. Then full pay. Last year they were offering 200USD per day after CAAC sim check ride until ground school first day. Some guys made good money sitting at home for 3 months but this is no longer available I believe.

Hangzhou is a decent city. Very modern, high tech and clean. A few international schools. Only 1 hr by fast train to Shanghai (SHA) but then another 1.5 hrs to get to PVG (for international flights). Before the virus, Qatar and KLM flew into Hangzhou direct from their capital cities. Accommodation: 6500-7500RMB for a 2/3 bedroom clean apartment in a nice area. Food is cheap, taxis are cheap. In China, you can live without a wallet, card and cash. In fact, hardly anyone uses cash here. You just need your mobile phone. Everything is paid for using smart phone apps such as AliPay and WeChat pay and it is the preferred way. The internet is fast and despite the censorship there are good VPN options which can get around it all but if you come to China be prepared with everything installed beforehand. The city runs on apps. Taxis, food deliveries, bill payment, phone top up and more recently your health. Good idea to have the best phone with as much of the apps all ready, registered and to go. But most are in Chinese language so you'll need help from a Chinese speaking person. There are some on-screen translator apps that will help. Apps that can read Chinese characters on the screen and give you an instant translation. When you arrive into Hangzhou you have to register for an AliPay service that gives you a health barcode. That barcode (green, amber or red) is then requested to be shown before you enter any building or venue. I cannot stress enough how important smartphones and apps are to life in China in general. By Western standards, China is super high tech.

In concluding, you need a lot of patience and perseverance combined with luck. Those of you who can tolerate endless bureaucracy and constant form filling, scanning and emailing of documents, you will make it to ground school. After that, once you see the money coming in you will be happy to tolerate the other nonsense such as weekly online courses and exams. The salary is high because of the inconvenience involved to get hired and the other non-flying related nonsense. Being the best all-round pilot on Earth does not guarantee success in China. Finally, personally I cannot see them allowing foreigners for another 6 months which is going to be a huge challenge for some of us already employed here as we cannot go home during that time (as we will effectively lose our jobs).

Good luck

Last edited by RudderTrimZero; 20th May 2020 at 11:05.
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Old 22nd Apr 2020, 02:59
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: hang on let me check
Posts: 550
Thanks a lot for posting this.

All of this sounds like a nightmare to be honest.

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Old 11th May 2020, 11:57
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: venice
Age: 38
Posts: 11
Hi guys,
I've just been informed that an online interview is scheduled in 2 days time! I've spent a bit of time looking for info but I couldn't see any useful tips for this interview. Can any of you write a reply or a PM to me to give some advices? Any help is appreciated, thank you.
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Old 11th May 2020, 12:51
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Pleigne
Posts: 1
Normally your contact/broker should give you more informations about that new process. I am also waiting for more details...
Unfortunately I have no idea and I hope Iíll receive more infos soon...
If you hear something please Share.I will do so.
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Old 16th May 2020, 08:03
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: venice
Age: 38
Posts: 11
My interview was canceled: the agency said they won't do online interview anymore, they prefer to invite people directly whenever it'll be possible.
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