Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

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skyvan
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby skyvan » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:50 am

One one side, you have guys who get here, and just don't make the transition to expat life. They hate every minute, spend every waking moment dreaming of their escape, and generally being grumpy and pissed off at everything that doesn't work out to their satisfaction. These guys tend to leave at the first available opportunity, and spend much time telling everyone just how bad it was. Sometimes they even write a book, like this guy did after leaving a Chinese carrier : https://www.scribd.com/doc/273231452/Fl ... e-Down-pdf

On the other, you have the people who, for whatever reason, have been able to make that transition to being a foreigner in a strange land, and have found that it works for them. These folk no longer rush back to SA (or wherever they originally came from ) every holiday, but they take advantage of where they are to expand their experiences and lifestyle, embrace the foreign land and use it for their own benefit. These people stay until something happens to change their circumstances, such as the kids finishing school, or having to deal with aging parents etc, and then they move on. Often, these people keep an ear to the ground, and have a Plan B (and C) in the back of their minds, but they are happy at the moment, so don't activate the plan.

There is a saying, when you get here, you get given 2 empty buckets, one for money, and the other for manure. When either one of them is full, then you leave. Some guys fill one quicker than others, so they leave earlier.

When I joined EK only 10 years ago, the pilot force was about 40% of the size it is now. Half of the guys of my intake have left already, a couple are still First Officers, having failed their upgrade courses. The rest of us are 777 or 380 Captains.

The current shortage in the USA has had an influence on the EK pilot numbers, but not a massive one. Many Americans came here with the intent of returning home as soon as they could, and so they have. Many pilots who would possibly have considered EK in the past are more aware of the problems that face expat crews, and so elect to stay in their home environment (often at a lower salary), rather than risk the unknown.

Any expat job used to be very well paid, and the expats were very well treated, just look at the Cathay and Singapore of old. Unfortunately, the image of a "hardship posting" is hard to reconcile with skyscrapers and first world trappings, so the expat packages have taken a serious beating.

Add into the mix a management culture than most westerners struggle to understand, and where a shot from the hip by a manager cannot be retracted due to loss of face, and there is a perception (I cannot say if it is real or not) of an uncompromising management within the workplace.

So, combine the lack of package, and a hostile management culture, throw in a very challenging route network coupled with a "maximum output required" rostering system, and you have your answer to the question, why is Emirates struggling to attract pilots.

From my side, after 10 years here, just the wife and I to care for, I am happy. Nothing untoward has happened to me, and I have seen some very positive actions by the management (in contradiction to the stories) to others who have needed help. I am in my mid-50s, and am in no rush to leave. Of course, I would like more money and more time off, but what pilot doesn't?
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby Lowaldo » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:12 am

Coherent and Well Said, skyvan. =D> :D
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby Flugmaour » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:29 am

A very well balanced post Skyvan. =D>
I haven't been in the ME long enough to have experienced how it used to be in the old days, but listening to some of the Captains I fly with I can completely see why so many want to leave and why so few want to join these days.
My wife and I came to the ME purely to make money and get time on a heavy as SA does not give us that opportunity anymore. So far we are making the most of it - traveling a lot and seeing parts of the world we never thought possible.
However, while I am enjoying myself I don't see this as a long term career job. The rostering is just too brutal at times and fatigue levels massive. I don't regret coming here at all as we are using the time and money to set ourselves up in a western first world. (again something that I would not have been able to do in SA with my salary)
When friends back in SA ask me whether they should join I tell them it's all about what they want in life... If they want to live the way they live life in SA - weather, nature, convenience etc then my answer is an absolute no. If they willing to live between sand, dust traffic etc but get to see the world, grow as a person, make new friends from different nationalities and experience different cultures plus you get to make some $ then absolutely - apply.
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby Joker11 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:19 pm

Well said Skyvan.
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby Joker11 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:26 pm

tansg wrote:Antman and Joker nice contributions to the discussion and really good to see an Avcom thread not degenerating into a mud-slinging session yet.

As has been said, it is not everyones cup of tea, but if you can fit and this is largely dictated by your own attitude, you can make a success of it. I don't work for an airline, but work with airlines and yes the local industry is undergoing a realignment. Good or bad, history will tell us but I can assure you the middle east airlines are in a different league of operations to most other airlines around the world.

Would I consider going back to SA? Not at this stage, there are to many opportunities and advantages for me outside SA, so each to his own and yep it is not for everyone.


I believe we all can have a civil and mature discussion on here, without the need to throw mud. I came here about the two years ago and I am currently on my third year. For me personally it hasn't worked out, but it is a fanstastic expierence for which I am greatful, but enough is enough.
Just like you I wouldn't go back to ZA myself. I got to many oppertunities in my field outside of ZA. I am heading back to Europe next since aviation jobs are again very attractive and well played. Coupled with an affordable life and stability it is a richer shore. Unfortunately due to commitments I am only able to leave next year. But regardless, I am making the best out of it everyday.
But the ME is not as attractive as it used to be. I wish I came here in my early 20s.
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby evanb » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:15 pm

I don't think challenges and rewards that expat pilots experience in the Middle East are that different from other expats in those countries. Some find success and/or fulfillment, and others don't. Also, it's not that different to my own experiences as an expat in the US and Europe.
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby African Flyer » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:03 pm

Has anyone here been a expat or know someone working for Cathay Pacific? Stories I read a few years back were basically 50/50. Some liked it, some not.

Same question for Vietnam Airlines? Read a few stories a couple of years back. All seemed positive
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby De Wet Davel » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:24 pm

skyvan wrote:One one side, you have guys who get here, and just don't make the transition to expat life. They hate every minute, spend every waking moment dreaming of their escape, and generally being grumpy and pissed off at everything that doesn't work out to their satisfaction. These guys tend to leave at the first available opportunity, and spend much time telling everyone just how bad it was. Sometimes they even write a book, like this guy did after leaving a Chinese carrier : https://www.scribd.com/doc/273231452/Fl ... e-Down-pdf

On the other, you have the people who, for whatever reason, have been able to make that transition to being a foreigner in a strange land, and have found that it works for them. These folk no longer rush back to SA (or wherever they originally came from ) every holiday, but they take advantage of where they are to expand their experiences and lifestyle, embrace the foreign land and use it for their own benefit. These people stay until something happens to change their circumstances, such as the kids finishing school, or having to deal with aging parents etc, and then they move on. Often, these people keep an ear to the ground, and have a Plan B (and C) in the back of their minds, but they are happy at the moment, so don't activate the plan.

There is a saying, when you get here, you get given 2 empty buckets, one for money, and the other for manure. When either one of them is full, then you leave. Some guys fill one quicker than others, so they leave earlier.

When I joined EK only 10 years ago, the pilot force was about 40% of the size it is now. Half of the guys of my intake have left already, a couple are still First Officers, having failed their upgrade courses. The rest of us are 777 or 380 Captains.

The current shortage in the USA has had an influence on the EK pilot numbers, but not a massive one. Many Americans came here with the intent of returning home as soon as they could, and so they have. Many pilots who would possibly have considered EK in the past are more aware of the problems that face expat crews, and so elect to stay in their home environment (often at a lower salary), rather than risk the unknown.

Any expat job used to be very well paid, and the expats were very well treated, just look at the Cathay and Singapore of old. Unfortunately, the image of a "hardship posting" is hard to reconcile with skyscrapers and first world trappings, so the expat packages have taken a serious beating.

Add into the mix a management culture than most westerners struggle to understand, and where a shot from the hip by a manager cannot be retracted due to loss of face, and there is a perception (I cannot say if it is real or not) of an uncompromising management within the workplace.

So, combine the lack of package, and a hostile management culture, throw in a very challenging route network coupled with a "maximum output required" rostering system, and you have your answer to the question, why is Emirates struggling to attract pilots.

From my side, after 10 years here, just the wife and I to care for, I am happy. Nothing untoward has happened to me, and I have seen some very positive actions by the management (in contradiction to the stories) to others who have needed help. I am in my mid-50s, and am in no rush to leave. Of course, I would like more money and more time off, but what pilot doesn't?



Ya ya, Skyvan...All well and everything, until you have to fly with sub-par crew to Seattle, and be forced to show them the seafood and chowder spots :P :D
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby skyvan » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:49 pm

De Wet Davel wrote:
Ya ya, Skyvan...All well and everything, until you have to fly with sub-par crew to Seattle, and be forced to show them the seafood and chowder spots :P :D


Ja ja Dewet, and there I was thinking that you had experienced one of my better performances!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby frikie » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:27 pm

Hi African Flyer

ACE is with Cathay, I'm sure he will give us some pearls.
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby African Flyer » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:36 am

frikie wrote:Hi African Flyer

ACE is with Cathay, I'm sure he will give us some pearls.


Thank you
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby ACE MAN » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:33 am

I have lived and worked in the Middle East and liked it as a place to live (AUH) , each to their own. As far as my current job is concerned (CX), it’s the one flying job I always wanted and would not have preferred it any other way, maybe not the best place I have lived , but I get time off enough to travel where I have a preferred lifestyle. I have many friends in HKG with young families with very eventful lives , guys either off on bike trips, golfing tours, aviation events, family holidays of note - and they do it every year. I hear hkg is really expensive , so I am told - but I see more people here with disposable income? In fact I think SA is more expensive a place to live as guys have no savings left after the months bills are paid. On the down side I only did 650hrs in the last year and 10% of that was on my own aircraft, my CAW(Frikkie)/SFR(Antman) friends do more landings a month than I do in a year and I have to retire at 55. So every job out there has it’s trade offs and in the end you make your own luck.

Hope I have been on topic
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby null69 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:51 am

ACE MAN wrote:I have lived and worked in the Middle East and liked it as a place to live (AUH) , each to their own. As far as my current job is concerned (CX), it’s the one flying job I always wanted and would not have preferred it any other way, maybe not the best place I have lived , but I get time off enough to travel where I have a preferred lifestyle. I have many friends in HKG with young families with very eventful lives , guys either off on bike trips, golfing tours, aviation events, family holidays of note - and they do it every year. I hear hkg is really expensive , so I am told - but I see more people here with disposable income? In fact I think SA is more expensive a place to live as guys have no savings left after the months bills are paid. On the down side I only did 650hrs in the last year and 10% of that was on my own aircraft, my CAW(Frikkie)/SFR(Antman) friends do more landings a month than I do in a year and I have to retire at 55. So every job out there has it’s trade offs and in the end you make your own luck.

Hope I have been on topic


A very different scenario, if you had a family. I think that most of the guys who get tired of
It and choose to move is because of other commitments. Enjoy it whilst you do no not have any. If that is the life
You choose that is. Otherwise ,
Embrace the opportunity and enjoy!
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby ACE MAN » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:31 am

null69 wrote:
ACE MAN wrote:I have lived and worked in the Middle East and liked it as a place to live (AUH) , each to their own. As far as my current job is concerned (CX), it’s the one flying job I always wanted and would not have preferred it any other way, maybe not the best place I have lived , but I get time off enough to travel where I have a preferred lifestyle. I have many friends in HKG with young families with very eventful lives , guys either off on bike trips, golfing tours, aviation events, family holidays of note - and they do it every year. I hear hkg is really expensive , so I am told - but I see more people here with disposable income? In fact I think SA is more expensive a place to live as guys have no savings left after the months bills are paid. On the down side I only did 650hrs in the last year and 10% of that was on my own aircraft, my CAW(Frikkie)/SFR(Antman) friends do more landings a month than I do in a year and I have to retire at 55. So every job out there has it’s trade offs and in the end you make your own luck.

Hope I have been on topic


A very different scenario, if you had a family. I think that most of the guys who get tired of
It and choose to move is because of other commitments. Enjoy it whilst you do no not have any. If that is the life
You choose that is. Otherwise ,
Embrace the opportunity and enjoy!


You could not be more wrong, I have been doing this expat thing for over 20 years and my kids are all grown up having schooled in 3 countries and have rewarded me in being an extremely proud father of them, also I have a very supportive wife. Being an Expat is like a being a contributor on avcom To some the sky is falling in and others the sky is the limit -you choose.
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Re: Emirates Pilot Shortage Forces Airline to Cancel Flights

Unread postby evanb » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:05 pm




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