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Air Astana

Old 7th Nov 2019, 15:25
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 7
The pay is around 7500 euro/month.
They also give around 500US per month for accommodation.
You can add about 1000 euro/ month to that, if you complete three years, so call it more like 8500 euro/ month.
In fairness, it's not the best paid job, but it's very cheap to live here, and there's no tax. I've never saved so much!
In truth, it's not for everyone, but it's got its own good points.
Must say that there are quite a lot of expats, and mostly quite happy.
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Old 7th Nov 2019, 20:19
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: france
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Originally Posted by manolotelo View Post
Hey guys,

Im going for interview in Nov on 4/5 any tips or where I should focus my studies, what kind of questions/Sim sessions !?? please
Im TRA320 650h/900tt

thank in advance,

Telo

Hello Telo,

How was the interview, Im going on interview the 14th of November and Id like to know what should I study more for the assessment.
How was it ?
You can DM me .

John

=========================

Until you have a posting history you don't have access to private messaging and adding urls.
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Old 8th Nov 2019, 17:39
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by Nomad2 View Post
The pay is around 7500 euro/month.
They also give around 500US per month for accommodation.
You can add about 1000 euro/ month to that, if you complete three years, so call it more like 8500 euro/ month.
In fairness, it's not the best paid job, but it's very cheap to live here, and there's no tax. I've never saved so much!
In truth, it's not for everyone, but it's got its own good points.
Must say that there are quite a lot of expats, and mostly quite happy.
for a Captain?????
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Old 8th Nov 2019, 23:28
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Neither here or there
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No wonder they are ALWAYS recruiting. You probably can live like a king on 7.5k in Kazakhstan but you're an expat who most likely has bills, commitments and taxes to pay at home. And traditionally they always wanted high PIC time too

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Old 9th Nov 2019, 08:12
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 7
To be fair, if you live somewhere expensive, the money probably isn't enough to tempt you.
If you live here though, it's plenty!
And yes, 7500/ month is for a captain.
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Old 9th Nov 2019, 13:26
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Ras al khaimah
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what about first officers?
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Old 9th Nov 2019, 17:57
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 7
I think around 5,500 for expat FO. Best check with the company.

For anyone interested, who's going through an agency, it might pay to shop around. I've seen my own job advertised for the same salary, but only 50% of the end of contract bonus.
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Old 9th Nov 2019, 22:16
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Orbit
Posts: 7
Hi all.
Little review of my time at Air Astana for you. I've been meaning to write this ever since I left 2 years ago.


The good, the okay, the bad.
The good:
Money - even though most of the expats at AA will complain about the pay, it's actually not bad; 5500 for an FO, 7500 for a captain. They'll pay 200000 local (about 500) for your accommodation. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN find accommodation for this in Astana, but it may not be in the best area. 250000-300000 will get you something nice in the centre of town, and I'd recommend spending a little of your own money to do this. All across the former soviet union, your bills, including utilities, internet and television, as usually included in the price of the rent. Apartments are generally furnished.

Air Astana have recently introduced the option of taking a 250 travel allowance instead of using their transport, this will easily cover taxis to and from work. At the Astana base, this is an excellent development, one I wish they had when I was there. There is a complicated system for leaving work via the Air Astana transport, you often wait a long time, which can result in a 2 hour commute for a journey which should take no more than 45 minutes. I have been told that this system has become even worse in recent times, so no doubt this travel allowance option is appreciated by my former colleagues.

What the above boils down to, Kazakhstan is a cheap country, a beer will cost you about $1. You can save a lot of money there.

Commuting roster: 6 weeks one, 2 weeks off. They stick to this pretty reliably. I was asked to change my off weeks a few times, but usually it wouldn't be a problem. They give you flights anywhere in their network plus a travel allowance of 250. I got business class on their flight 95% of the time, and then used myidtravel to get home from there.

They TRY to roster you for a flight the day before your "COFF" weeks, that will finish in the early afternoon, allowing you to commute out in the evening the day before, but this doesn't always happen. They won't give any allowances for coming home, you really need to arrive back the afternoon/evening before.

I will say, I think this job is more suitable to Europeans rather than Americans, Australians, Kiwis etc, just due to the commute time, That said, at least 50% of the expats are from South America, and they make it work.
Final note on commuting, it can be 6 weeks on, 3 weeks off, however this is not offered until you've been at the company for 5 years, and comes with a modest pay cut.

Maintenance: the aircraft are very well maintained, I never saw anyone grumble at a captain writing something up, most things are fixed promptly. It's rare to see MELs on an aircraft for more than a few days.

The okay:
Flying/rosters: you're going to fly alot! 80-100 hours per month, and most of that will be at night. If you're a night owl like me, this is good, if not, this is bad.
The various fleets do different types of flying. I think Embraer guys are often "home" most nights (days). Airbus away a little more. Boeing will have multiple days off on layovers... Air Astana count these days free of duty at outports as days off (more on this in the bad section later), Fine if you're single, or your family are in your home country, but not so good if you have moved your family to Kazakhstan.

Base: Astana: no, you 95% will not get Almaty, which is a shame, because Almaty is a nice city with lots of outdoorsy type stuff to do such as skiing and hiking. It also has a more agreeable climate, hot summers, and mild (compared to Astana) winters. Astana is a bit of a weird city. It's much more expensive than Alamty, and there isn't much to do there to be honest. However, it's modern, there are decent shopping malls, world class food (however service is generally bad), an okay bar scene, and comfortable modern accommodation.

As the second coldest capital city in the world, Temperatures regularly fall below - 30C in winter and it's not unusual to see temperatures below -40C (-50F). There isn't much of a summer. It's very short, and temperatures top out at around +30C, and this is rare. More typical is temperatures in the low to mid 20s. By late September it's not unusual to see temperatures back below freezing.

However, it is often sunny, even if it is cold.

People & Kazakh Culture:
Kazakh people are generally very nice once you get to know them, for example; my landlady was always very kind to me, often offering me cake or fruits whenever I'd see her, and always fixing things on time.

However, if you're a westerner or Latino, you'll notice that they seem rude and cold. I am told that this is an old soviet culture, where they focused on their own family, and didn't care about unknown people. This might sound normal, but it translates to not offering up the daily "pleasantries" you often see elsewhere. They won't hold a door open for you, won't thank you if you do for them, won't apologise if they bump into you or push pass you, and the cashier won't ask how you are.

On the plus side, you don't have to do any of those things either, and noone will think twice.

The level of English is not good. Outside of Air Astana itself, it's quite rare to meet someone with more than a beginner level of English. If you learn some words in Russian, or better yet, Kazakh, they will appreciate it, and sometimes even crack a smile. You can get by with only English, but a basic grasp of Russian will really improve you experience in Kazakhstan.

Whilst the religion of Kazakhstan is predominantly Muslim, you won't notice it, even during Ramadan. 27% of the population is Orthodox Christian or other, as such, pork products are not difficult to find, and Alcohol flows freely (what would a Russian speaking country be without Vodka!?!).


The Bad:
People and Culture:

I put this in the okay category as well because, outside of work, this isn't really a problem. At work...it takes some time to adapt to. The local managers, and the older local pilots, are old school to say the least! It's not unusual to receive a military style lecture for taking a command decision which your base captain/fleet manager/chief pilot doesn't agree with.

FOQA (Data monitoring), is very much used as a blame tool. You'll get phone calls and have meetings about any minor deviation from SOP. Most of the local pilots (and half the expats), are paranoid about this, and you'll notice it when you fly with them, which can become tiresome even if they are well intentioned. I'll say this, no matter how good of a pilot you are, how careful you are, you will have such meetings and phone calls to deal with during your time at Air Astana.
I think the company is trying to change this, they do CRM courses, and their manuals talk about a "Just Culture", they just haven't quite figured out what it is yet. As mentioned elsewhere on this forum, it is somewhat of a blame culture.

I believe it isn't as extreme as places like China, but Air Astana seem to think that because they are paying you, they own you, you shouldn't speak up, just do as you're told.


Rostering "quirks":
As mentioned above, days off down route are counted towards your minimum 7 days off per month (you'll never get more than this minimum). For example, you fly to Moscow, arrive at 22:30, next day is off, and you depart at 04:30 the following morning. Now you have only 6 days off remaining for that month whilst back in Astana.

Air Astana also count your 2 weeks off towards your monthly days off. This can result in you only having 2 days off for the month. For example: you have the 1st of the month off, fly until the 7th, then from the 8th - 21st you have your 2 weeks off (Contract off or COFF), you then fly from the 22nd until the 27th, have 1 day off, and fly again until the end of the month.

There is no bid system. No way of requesting specific days off, and should you try to make requests, they are almost always met with the answer "sorry, it is not possible to give requested days off". However, when the shoe is on the other foot, and Air Astana want you to change your roster, it is all but mandatory to comply...On this, don't think that you'll get something in return for helping the company out...you won't no matter how many times you do it (this problem is worldwide, not only Air Astana).

Check and training:
It's unbelievably nitpicky. There is no such thing as a good check. Debriefs are usually a lengthy critique on what a terrible pilot you are, before finally telling you that you have passed. Enough said.

First officers:I'll spell this out for FOs thinking of joining Air Astana...Don't. You won't be respected, you won't be upgraded, You will become frustrated, you will leave.
DO NOT COME TO AIR ASTANA AS AN FO! (or any other contract job in Asia for that matter).

Of all the expat FOs I knew at Air Astana, Most are still FOs or have left. This is despite advertisements of "Command upgrade opportunity in 6 months". I have NEVER heard of anyone, local or expat, getting command anywhere near this fast. I only knew of a few expats who had upgraded from FO, they all took years to upgrade. From what I am told, the upgrade process is something similar to what I imagine the selection process for NASA must be. The level of knowledge asked of you is vast (far higher than ANY line captain would have). Many fail more than once before getting through...this after waiting years to get the opportunity in the first place. Do yourself a favour...stay where you are, upgrade, then think about Air Astana once you're a captain in your home country.

There are plenty of other nitpicks but I have tried to stick to the main points, perhaps others would like to add to my list!?

Summary:

Air Astana aren't too bad as far as contracts go. The quality of life is probably better than places such as Dubai, India, or China. Generally speaking they honour the contract, they always pay on time, you get your time off, etc.

Like anywhere, you'll fly with some great people, both pilots and cabin crew. The expat pilot community is welcoming and help each other out.

Looking back on it, it was good to experience, but I don't think I'd go back.

I don't think I'd recommend it to English speaking Westerners, or Western Europeans. If you've got used to the way it's done in those countries, Air Astana will come as a backwards shock.


As always, the above is only based on my experience, and the ones I directly observed from my colleagues. Your experience may be different.

Safe Skies and good luck to you all
MADMAX190 is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2019, 14:21
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 7
MADMAX190
Thanks for adding your most eloquent and comprehensive post on AA.

As a current 190 guy, I endorse it completely. I must have joined just as you were leaving. In particular, your advice about expat FOs should be respected.

I've not heard about the 250 euro alternative to the dreadful transport. I'll check it out, but I don't think this caught on.

Also, your 250 Euro travel allowance is 125 for me....it pays to check the t & c's that YOU are offered very carefully.

Really useful post!👍
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Old 10th Nov 2019, 17:16
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Orbit
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by Nomad2 View Post

I've not heard about the 250 euro alternative to the dreadful transport. I'll check it out, but I don't think this caught on.
I saw this on one of the contracting websites. I forget which one, CAE, Sigma, Direct etc.
From what I've heard about things are being done out of the hangar now, it's even worse than when I was there (I didn't know that could be possible!). Hence a travel allowance, just get in a taxi and go home... Much better.

Try not to freeze out there my friend! And stay out of the way of uncle S...
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 04:56
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Anywhere
Posts: 56
7,500EUR. Must be full of tax dodgers to make that worthwhile. Sorry.....I'll be quiet.
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Old 11th Nov 2019, 05:22
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Orbit
Posts: 7
Well most counties don't tax their citizens on foreign income. You pay Kazakh tax but those figures are net of tax.
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Old 13th Nov 2019, 01:11
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Lol. Sorry that's wrong. Most countries absolutely do and for sure almost every single one in Europe. Unless you are non tax resident in your home country, you still have to pay tax in your home country if the amount you have been taxed in Kazakhstan is below your normal rate in your home country. In Kazakhstan there is a 10% flat rate of tax on income. Therefore you still owe 15-35% tax on top of that depending on your citizenship and tax resident status. Is that a revelation?
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Old 13th Nov 2019, 04:11
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
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Originally Posted by MonarchOrBust View Post
Lol. Sorry that's wrong. Most countries absolutely do and for sure almost every single one in Europe. Unless you are non tax resident in your home country, you still have to pay tax in your home country if the amount you have been taxed in Kazakhstan is below your normal rate in your home country. In Kazakhstan there is a 10% flat rate of tax on income. Therefore you still owe 15-35% tax on top of that depending on your citizenship and tax resident status. Is that a revelation?
Lol... Well, If you're unfortunate enough to be from a country that considers a maximum of 84 days "in country" makes you a tax resident, then you're right. In mine (European country) you need to live there for 6 months of the year to be a tax resident. This is true of many of the EU countries, not sure which European countries you were referring to? Is that a revelation?



​​​
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Old 13th Nov 2019, 14:07
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 7
Smile

Monarch or Bust
(I guess that'll be 'bust' then! ;-) )
I think it's only Uncle Sam that insists on its expats paying 'home' tax on foreign earnings.

I'm not a tax dodger.

In my home country, as long as you don't spend more than 90 days there, work full time abroad, and don't spend more than 30 days at a time at home, you are not elegible to pay tax. It's called being an expat.

Only an idiot would pay tax if they can legally avoid doing so.

One of the the best things about being an expat, is becoming a non-taxpayer at home.
It makes me happy every morning when I wake up!
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 10:34
  #36 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 2,313
FYI from interview with CEO:


As for the numbers of available professional personnel, is the company suffering from a shortage of pilots and from difficulties with their training?


"The lack of commercial airline pilots is a widespread problem. We have our own Ab-initio pilot training programme, where we have trained about 300 pilots since 2009. We support it, pay for it and it is entirely an internal initiative. But, of course, attracting the required number of pilots remains a challenge."

Interview: Peter Foster, president and chief executive of Air Astana
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Old 7th Dec 2019, 21:28
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 5
Taxation.

Taxation issues between countries are treated via Taxation Treaties. Most countries have treaties between themselves. This is to avoid double taxation.

The only exceptions are countries where there is no income tax, i.e U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, ect...

You can google most of these taxation treaties using the names of the countries involved. Most of the treaties are copy and paste of each other. Look for the Section titled Dependent Income. It is usually Clause 15 or 17 of the treaties.

Hope this help.
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Old 8th Dec 2019, 09:35
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: world
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Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
FYI from interview with CEO:
As for the numbers of available professional personnel, is the company suffering from a shortage of pilots and from difficulties with their training?

"The lack of commercial airline pilots is a widespread problem. We have our own Ab-initio pilot training programme, where we have trained about 300 pilots since 2009. We support it, pay for it and it is entirely an internal initiative. But, of course, attracting the required number of pilots remains a challenge."
Funny, that there is a pilot shortage in that airline, but all of my colleagues and I applied and got rejected as early as the CV screening...
They don't miss that many pilots, actually...
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