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-   -   Spring Airlines (https://www.pprune.org/south-asia-far-east/475453-spring-airlines.html)

radarvector320 27th Jan 2012 03:57

Spring Airlines
Anyone know anything about this place? Heard they just roasted a foreign pilot for a minor altitude bust. He lost his whole safety bonus for the year of $12,000 US. Unbelievable. Pretty good money but it's all end-loaded bonuses. I think there are better options with more time off and the pay is paid up front...

USMCProbe 27th Jan 2012 08:49

I Don't know any pilots personally, but know some that know some. They said it is a good outfit. So far they have been paying everything, although I don't believe any pilots have been there long enough to get the "big bonus" at the end. It is a 3 year contract and I have only seen it advertised for a little over 2 years. I could be wrong.

Several of us looked at it and decided against it for the same reason. Too much bonus at the end.

radarvector320 27th Jan 2012 12:41

It's nice to see that other companies in China are paying more monthly rather than dangling the proverbial carrot at the end of the contract. I think people are happier this way and while some Chinese airlines feel that end loading the bonus at the end of the contract is the way to keep pilots I feel it has the opposite effect... I think Spring will have a tougher time recruiting new pilots now that other airlines have seen the light....

USMCProbe 28th Jan 2012 02:17

Yeah, I will take my money up front as well. Most of the new contracts that I have seen written in China have more money monthly, with a small annual bonus, and maybe some of the other things paid every 6 months.

All of us doing this are on our own separate contracts. If someone really wanted to fly for Spring, but didn't like the big bonus at the end (me), they can attempt to negotiate something different. That would be my choice, and if Spring wanted you, they would probably bend.

radarvector320 28th Jan 2012 06:15

Good stuff. They may have to bend or lose guys to better contracts. The "here fishy fishy" might not work anymore....

nearsight 4th Feb 2012 06:50

The bonuses are having the opposite effect the Chinese hope for. They hoped to breed loyalty. In reality people only see the 13.5k they get monthly. The rest is on a wish and a prayer given the Chinese attitude towards written contracts. Dont expect to see any of it. An effort to have the bonuses monthly was rejected.

As stated above a foreign pilot here was just fined 12,000USD for an altitude bust. Fines for being 5 minutes late. Fines for missing jeppesen plates. Fines for "heavy" landings. Fines for rate of descent. Fines for taxiing fast. QAR's are for salary rebates to the company. Fines for just about anything they can think of, and you need not have been PF for the event. Safety has very little to do with it.

Outrageous medicals. Perfectly fit pilots will fail medicals regularly. Both at initial and again at renewals. Little recourse when you do. You will be breathylised regularly at check-in and possibly have your blood pressure checked too.

Training flights. You will spend the first 6-8 months at least in training (100-400hrs Pilot Flying). This consists of regular 4-sector 16hr+ days (3 pilots) with you in the jumpseat for half of it (doesnt count for hours). They use foreign captains as safety pilots for new f/o's. There is no training. A Chinese captain often with little english will just conduct the flight completely as he sees fit with you sitting in the left. When you're in the jumpseat all operations are conducted in Chinese. You are still liable to be fined for cockpit mess-ups when sitting in the jumpseat.

Simulator sessions are conducted many times a year (on days off, not duty days - and in Zhuhai). Each time any Chinese airline (or high-speed Train)has an incident, all pilots in China are sent for retraining. These are in addition to your recurrent training. Each one is full-jeopardy, even the training days. If you fail (and many will do) you will be removed from flying and have to retake the simulator in a months time without pay. Disregard what you think you know, they will find fault. Same goes for check flights.

Leave. Flexibility is difficult. If you need to change your leave they wont let you unless the 2 week period crosses a month-end. This gives them 3 weeks to fly you to FTL limits in each month. Anything else will be rejected.

Kennels for hotels. They use no-star hotels. Most are free or almost free for the airline. Better described as nameless guesthouses in industrial carparks with shocking dirt, stifling heat (or baltic cold)unbearable noise and no facilities whatsoever. You will spend up to 4 days in these at a time. It is illegal to make your own arrangements and the management are indifferent. Locals also complain to no effect and in fact local co-pilots are now being asked to share rooms. A recent foreigner boycott resulted in a mere change of carpet at one "hotel"..! Bear in mind many foreign pilot contracts stipulate 3-star or better - again to management indifference.

Food. Almost all food onboard is prepared by a no-star Chinese hotel owned by Spring. Saying it's sub-standard is an understatement. On overnights expect similar.

Flying itself: There is a complete lack of English all-round. Most company documents are only in Chinese. No cabin crew will understand any briefing or evacuation command. Pushback is in Chinese. ATC will give clearances in Chinese, at times refusing to speak english (see the fines above and Juneyao incident elsewhere).

Flight plans offer zero extra fuel. Contingency is zero percent. More than 200kg extra will be argued by dispatch. ATC will randomly, but regularly keep flights at ~FL250 for hours when planned at ~FL 350 because of unnamed and unpredictable restrictions. You see the dilemma. Despite this your f/o will question strongly any extra fuel as his paycheck depends on it. Monthly fuel bonuses are arbitrary, not based on formula, and far below what was advertised. A bad idea to start with.

In short you are here to fill a seat. Given that most Chinese pilots are on lifetime contracts, the management havent quite grasped the fact that foreign pilots have other options. I think they might learn that soon.
For now they are scratching their heads at why nobody new is coming here...

JotaJota 4th Feb 2012 19:13

Daaam! I went thru a few of these "scenarios or events" in my few years in China, but Spring better get their shiat together if they want to attract and retain.

$12k fine for alt bust? C ya... We had a few over 15 kts taxi/turns, high sink rate and other BS, but the fines were less than a thousand per event.

And the worst, short on FUEL? We (at BCA/Deer) complained that we had WAY too much fuel, and always landed with what, 4000-5000 kilos.


On Final 5th Feb 2012 04:10

Spring Air

Be careful with this airline I know of a pilot that was cooked up there. Stick with the more reliable outfits.

Good Luck,

On Final

Transformer_Man 5th Feb 2012 07:59

Not unique!

QAR busts, adversarial training, bad food and hotels are common. Xiamen was putting crews in a hotel in Hangzhou with prostitution and drug activity. They also used a kennel in Fuzhou for the crews, and even the Chinese didn't like it.

It is not always so bad - sometimes you get a good hotel and decent crew meals.

Briefings are often like talking to the wall. You say it in English, and the copilot translates. You say a short sentence, and he delivers a long lecture until you stop him and insist on a strict translation of your instructions.

There are Communist Party zealots in each company who want operations done their way, and they don't want foreigners contaminating the brew.

$12K for an altitude bust? Par for Confucian flying in the metric system.

Burningavgas 5th Feb 2012 12:46

Nearsight, you did an awesome job describing the work envirorment in China, but you left out one BIG detail......SMOKING!!!!

I am not that familiar with what kind of policies the airlines have here in China in regards to smoking in the airplane, but I can tell you, on the bizjet at my contract company its a major major problem. I just finished my two jump seat observation trips and completed my touch and go's in the actual airplane, and on every single observation leg, the pilots were smoking in the airplane. And not only the pilots smoke in the airplane, but you have an engineer who also smokes in the cabin. I actually thought I could escape the smoke, but then you have this engineer lighting up in the lavatory.

My advice to any foreigner who is about to make the jump to China...buy yourself a good pair of shower shoes because the hotels are the nastiest you will ever stay in. They're filled with smoke and freezing arse cold. If you go to dinner with the Chinese crew, they eat with a cig in their mouth, so its always.....smoke smoke smoke!!!

Ching Ching!!!

springaviator 6th Feb 2012 11:06

$12,000 USD fines...
Ladies and Gents,

I can confirm the initial thread statement is true and correct.

A very sad situation that has little logic to it. The gent involved is a foreign A320 captain that was involved in an altitude bust, no TA/RA's were recorded. There is no need to take fault away from the pilot itself, but so as to give a better understanding of what happened on that day I suggest more current Spring pilots add their bit to this thread.
The gent involved was never taken off flying following this event, thus implying he is in no way a threat, there was a minimal investigation by the airline and the results (mainly the radio transmission recordings) have not been made available to this pilot despite his insistence and repetitive requests.
To the best of my knowledge this is a situation that has occurred in the past, in similar circumstances with local pilots. The main issue here is the disproportionate "fine" imposed by the airline to this individual, $12,000USD, versus RMB2,000 for the similar incident were a local pilot was PIC.
This is an abuse of the contractual agreement and is set to be a strong message from the airline to their foreign pilots, mainly and very possibly under pressure from the CAAC.
The set up, non adherence to SOP's, HIGHLY non standard ATC instructions/read backs and overall lack of english proficiency on the part of the latter makes this type of events very frequent. I personally witness several on a daily basis and for the most part I had only "close calls", but I can see this same event repeating it self over and over again.
Most of the guys recruited into this operator have strong to very strong aviation back grounds, most of them with several thousand PIC hours having served in flag carriers and we are all very skeptical about bonuses being paid in the manner they are advertised when recruited. If you are even thinking on joining an expat contract gig do so with both eyes wide open.

In short, Flying in China is no walk in the park. Your license, career and overall sanity can take a beating before you know it. Be warned...

I will be happy to answer any questions relating to this operation in the public forum.

radarvector320 6th Feb 2012 12:04

Good post Nearsight.

You have to wonder about the integrity of an airline that end-loads all of their bonuses. Evidently they are ready to pounce at the first opportunity to withold your bonus (re:12,000$ safety bonus).

One failed medical, one failed sim check, one failed line check and bye bye bonus. Spring Airlines is obviously unwilling to share the risk with their foreign pilots (that they so desperately need) as evidenced by the low monthly pay/bonus based salary structure. If I move myself and family to China it will be for money up front not a promise to pay "If, if, if..." Get with the program Spring. You are falling behind...

springaviator 7th Feb 2012 08:17

Spring Airlines Hotels
Hotel accomodation provided by Spring during overnights....
This has been going on forever!! a few of the guys finally refused to fly to some of these dumps. To date, the hotels are the same, no changes, other than a scrub down and a new carpet.
Issues during over nights range from no hot water to take a shower, incredible noise levels (you can hear everything that goes on in your neighbouring room, from coughing to bathroom visits), no temperature control and in some places no heating.
What gives??
a $12,000 USD fine just to put all the pilots in place... that'll learn 'em!

goodinchina 8th Feb 2012 08:32

Medicals and sims at Spring Airlines
Heard of a guy going through a medical recently, failed the medical and passed it again one month later. Outcome of medicals seem to be a game of black jack. End result was no pay during the "down time", no bonus either for the lack of productivity. Is this true?
Also, several guys fired during their initial training for failing sims and others getting a hard time to receive a clearance letter so that they could go work elsewhere.
Hotels, sims, fines for actions outside the control of the crew, contracts as a base to renegotiate conditions of service...What is going on?
Insiders with more and better details?

boocs 8th Feb 2012 17:59

"What is going on?"

Welcome to China.....


flyingguyforjob 15th Feb 2012 13:31

Great info guys
For anyone considering China and certain airlines with end loaded bonuses....Think twice. Maybe the Middle east is a better bet. Or Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, ..many options. In Spring air, you simply dont know if you will ever see that money and with the recent 12k they took from one guy, I think this speaks loud and clear...

airbusdriver2 15th Feb 2012 15:29

Guys this is all true unfortunately. Nearsight has done a fantastic job of describing work life here in spring airlines. That about sums it up. Up to now you could almost put up with the daily struggle of working here because of the money but after this ridiculous totally disproportionate fine quite frankly most of us believe we will lose at least one of our safety bonuses possibly all of them if a simple altitude bust is all it takes. As for the long term bonuses based on what has happened we are all very suspicious now if we will ever see them, they promise a lot but clearly are working out ways to get out of paying. For anyone thinking of coming to work for spring airlines think long and hard about it. There are much better and more secure contracts out there in china not to mention the rest of the world. I fear that spring will learn thus the hard way over the next few years if they don't adapt their thinking. If things don't change I predict a continual exodus over the next few years with little if no contract renewals! This is honestly what it is like guys we have no reason to give false info be careful if you want to join spring there is a lot better out there!

flyingguyforjob 29th Feb 2012 07:46

Look elsewhere
Good information.
Seems most agree. They are out to find ways to not pay. And it seems to fit their Strategy. Offer the big bonus and look for reasons not to pay it. I will pass this on to my colleagues for sure. This place seem to be indifferent to the impct their actions have on their reputation !

On Final 29th Feb 2012 09:27

Spring Airlines

Yes it is true, I would stay away from this Airline. It is not just one pilot roasted, it is the company attitude in gerneral. Remember, if you go to any Chinese airline for work and fail your CAAC checkride you are DONE in China forever. Pilots should be very careful with the first airline they pick in China.

Good Luck,

On Final

StandbyFlowControl 17th Mar 2012 14:47

My current contract's coming to an end and I was thinking of Spring Airlines (China's Ryanair) but I read from a Bloomberg article recently :

Spring Air’s Shen:
“The boom in foreign pilots coming to China may only last a few years,” he said. “When we have more choice in the future, I will prefer our own pilots.”
At least the guy's honest ;) I'm looking for a more stable job and with this statement , and the lottery medicals , and $12000 punishment fines there, it's all far too uncertain and risky for me. The end loading of bonuses is CRAZY. and puts all the risk on the Pilot and not the Airline.

Better to get on into a more secure environment....EK DEC application is in.......;)

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