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View Full Version : Cathay Pacific Second Officer


IrishFlyer757
05-07-2012, 07:50 AM
Just curious if anyone knows anything about the CX SO programme? I am an American and see they potentially hire with anything over 250TT. Money looks pretty good at abotu $6,000/month. A couple questions -

1. If I go fly over there will I receive a type rating in the jet that would be transferrable to the US if I want to come back and fly here?
2. What are the chances to upgrade to FO someday?
3. What is it like living in HKG?

I did some research on foreign sites and there were a lot of peeved Aussies and Brits that didn't think the SO programme was worth a darn. Just curious if anyone has anything more up to date. That should be it for now. Thanks!


Golden Bear
05-07-2012, 08:10 AM
$6000/mo. would probably get you a 400 sq. ft. studio apartment in HKG with a partially obstructed view of a dumpster.

FastDEW
05-07-2012, 08:32 AM
$6000/mo. would probably get you a 400 sq. ft. studio apartment in HKG with a partially obstructed view of a dumpster.

There is no way you will get a good dumpster view on that money! Lol

Seriously though, I love Hong Kong. It is a great place, but not cheap. I imagine your idea is to build experience and TT for better future jobs. As a Cathay SO do you have to live in base or can you commute from a less expensive location? I don't know.


portfo
05-07-2012, 08:36 AM
Check out pprune. Go to the fragrant harbour section and you will get more info on this program than you will know what to do with.... There is a specific thread on that very program which may open your eyes quite a bit....

zondaracer
05-07-2012, 10:29 AM
CX SO is not a really a time building job, it is a place to go if you want to make it a career, from what I have been told.

As a SO, you will be the relief pilot on long haul flights. Upgrade times are 7-9 years before you make FO. SO doesn't land, only flies in the cruise phase.
I heard commuting as a SO is very difficult.

You can see why it isn't a time building job, but rather a career job. Most of my Euro friends have applied. I have not for the reasons mentioned above.

Good luck if you choose to apply.

4everFO
05-07-2012, 07:53 PM
CX SO is not a really a time building job, it is a place to go if you want to make it a career, from what I have been told.

As a SO, you will be the relief pilot on long haul flights. Upgrade times are 7-9 years before you make FO. SO doesn't land, only flies in the cruise phase.
I heard commuting as a SO is very difficult.

You can see why it isn't a time building job, but rather a career job. Most of my Euro friends have applied. I have not for the reasons mentioned above.

Good luck if you choose to apply.

Not even close...current SO to JFO upgrades are at the 4 year mark. There was no hiring, except a handful in 2009, so once all the 2008 hires are trained then the upgrade should drop to around 3 years. After that, who knows. Of course management is talking about parking airplanes now so everything is, as always in aviation, subject to change.

I am in no way advocating coming to CX on the current package. If you do come to CX and you are in your early twenties, I would suggest it as a time building job....3-4 years as an SO then get your 1000-1500 hours in the right seat and bail if you can find something better.

I have 7 years in and at best I am estimating another 10 years to the left seat.

FO.

zondaracer
05-07-2012, 10:20 PM
Thanks fr clearing it up. I guess I was fed exaggerated numbers by an unhappy guy.

For those thinking of applying, maybe you can share some more info...
1. How does the pay relate to living costs in HK?
2. Do you get a housing allowance?
3. How long did training take?
4. If you could stick out the 7 years to Captain upgrade, what would be better than CX? (not saying they are the best, but in your opinion what looks like a better option to you?)

Kernow
05-07-2012, 11:18 PM
4. If you could stick out the 7 years to Captain upgrade, what would be better than CX? (not saying they are the best, but in your opinion what looks like a better option to you?)

Check again, he said 17yrs to LHS from start:eek:

Cathay is no longer the choice it used to be..............

I have over 2500hrs jet and turned down CX as they still only offering the SO deal. Couldn't face 4yrs as a radio monkey! Very good threads on PPrune on the subject, with a blow by blow account of daily life as an SO.

Good luck.

zondaracer
05-08-2012, 03:18 AM
That's what I meant, forgot the 1 :)

The Dominican
05-08-2012, 05:44 AM
It will be very unlikely that anyone will make a career of CX through this program, the flying will be so boring (answering a CPDLC call now and again) you will never get to fly the airplane at all, and your currency will be done in the sim all the time, the salary will get you a place the size of a shoe box in Hong Kong and although it is a great city with tons of night life, you will not be able to afford it! is very expensive to live with any sort of social agenda there. The time line will be more like 9 years to upgrade to F/O and 20 years for a captain upgrade for what I hear, and in top of everything, you spend all that time flying as an S/O, you get sick of it and then you can't even get a job flying in any other company abroad because the vast majority of places will not take S/O time at all, many places won't even take cruise captain time. Do a LOT of research on this so called "opportunity" before you jump in.

thepotato232
05-08-2012, 07:41 AM
My friend over there has pretty much the same things to say. The new Cathay deal sounds like a dead-end for anyone who doesn't plan on making a career out of the place, and even that seems a far less attractive prospect than it has been in the past. Pay's dropping like a rock - they're down to "C-Scale" now for new hires, which means a lower, separate payscale from folks who signed on before they changed the terms of employment, and no housing allowance to boot. The company makes it very clear that they expect you to live in Hong Kong unless you're one of the people who signed on to be based elsewhere in the past. The wildly different numbers people are quoting for RHS and LHS upgrade times are because nobody's really sure yet - Cathay just recently upped the retirement age from their old standard of 55 all the way up to ICAO's 65. That's a lot of people who aren't going anywhere anytime soon. The only thing that could dampen that blow would be if the company was still growing like mad, but that's not really the case anymore, either.

The latest terms suggest they're not really interested in anybody but locals and desperate young expats hitting a wall in their career. If you're one of the latter, I suggest you do a lot more research than hitting the usual internet gripe boards.

PCLCREW
05-08-2012, 09:29 AM
Just curious if anyone knows anything about the CX SO programme? I am an American and see they potentially hire with anything over 250TT. Money looks pretty good at abotu $6,000/month. A couple questions -

1. If I go fly over there will I receive a type rating in the jet that would be transferrable to the US if I want to come back and fly here?
2. What are the chances to upgrade to FO someday?
3. What is it like living in HKG?

I did some research on foreign sites and there were a lot of peeved Aussies and Brits that didn't think the SO programme was worth a darn. Just curious if anyone has anything more up to date. That should be it for now. Thanks!

Sounds like you have A LOT of research to do...
6,000$ a month is not what you will take home, even if it was this is barely enough to live.

As a SO you will not get a type rating, and as many have stated already many airlines will not accept any of your SO or P3 time.

Do hard research... coming on here and asking questions is good, but you need to go to websites and see just how much apartments are in HK, how much food costs in HK etc etc etc. HK is one of the most expensive cities to live in on the planet.

If you have family in HK that you can live with, go for it... If you dont good luck, your gonna need it.

VanDriver208
05-08-2012, 10:05 AM
Is the SO position at DragonAir a better deal than at CX? Shorter times to the right seat?

The Dominican
05-08-2012, 10:47 AM
http://www.pprune.org/south-asia-far-east/476610-cathay-pacific-second-officer-advanced-entry-initial-interview.html

There is a long thread with more information on it that you will want to know

PCLCREW
05-08-2012, 04:42 PM
If Cathay had to resort to going to India to recruit pilots with 250hrs that should tell you tons about this job.

4everFO
05-08-2012, 04:52 PM
It will be very unlikely that anyone will make a career of CX through this program, the flying will be so boring (answering a CPDLC call now and again) you will never get to fly the airplane at all, and your currency will be done in the sim all the time, the salary will get you a place the size of a shoe box in Hong Kong and although it is a great city with tons of night life, you will not be able to afford it! is very expensive to live with any sort of social agenda there. The time line will be more like 9 years to upgrade to F/O and 20 years for a captain upgrade for what I hear, and in top of everything, you spend all that time flying as an S/O, you get sick of it and then you can't even get a job flying in any other company abroad because the vast majority of places will not take S/O time at all, many places won't even take cruise captain time. Do a LOT of research on this so called "opportunity" before you jump in.

Like I said currently 4 years to upgrade to JFO and the current captain upgrade candidates are at the 11.5 year mark when they check out....no one knows what the future holds. There is a 5 year limit on the P2X (SO) rating per the HKCAD, so unlikely that upgrade to FO will ever stretch past the 5 year mark. Also, it seems that I will take 17 years to upgrade due to age 65 being brought in. All that did was delay the retirement of the top 250-350 guys for 10 years. When they start to retire and if CX stays with the current plan to have 200 jets by 2020 then the people joining today will enjoy faster progression than I have. CX could also decide they want to hire captains again like they did in 2008 or FOs ahead of suitably qualified SOs also in 2008 that would slow things down.

I still do not recommend it as a career. I have refused to write letters of recommendation for several friends as I believe that I would be doing them a disservice. They were all experienced guys with plenty of experience. Come to CX with 250 hours, fly all over the world with 18 days off per month for ~3-4 years. Upgrade to FO, fly your 1000 hours in the right seat of a wide body and then find something better before you are 30. While the total time as an SO might not count some places (it is still considered SIC time in the US...as there is no requirement for a type rating to be SIC, requirement for SIC to be typed is ICAO), but you can say that you have 3-4 years of international experience and you can answer questions at an interview about international ops and trans oceanic ops.

Zon,

Approx 600 sq. ft. place in Discovery Bay (south side of Lantau island next to Disney), where a lot of pilots (CX, Fedex, corporate, HK Airlines...) live, will set you back about 12-18K a month plus utilities (water is cheap, electricity is not, cable TV is awful). Western food is roughly 25-45% more than it is back home (a package of italian sausage from the US is $4 back in the US, it is 6-7 USD here is HK). Of course, you could go with the meat and chicken and all other manner of things from China, but good luck with that.

No housing allowance for new joiners or freighter only crew. New joiners get a taxable amount added to their paycheck every month (so right away you lose 15% of it). As an SO, I believe that the monthly Hong Kong Pilot Allowance is 10,000HKD. Compare that to the current expat housing allowance that expat SOs enjoy of near 70,000HKD per month...and if they rent there is only a 10% increase to the taxable salary.

Training takes from between 4-6 months to finish, not including the time spent in Adelaide.

If you can stand the middle east, I would go there. Alot different than back home but a better career. Friends that joined (EK) a year after I did are already checking out as 777 skippers and another friend just offered the job is looking at a left seat within 4-5 years...again I am staring at another decade of a 15 knot crosswind limit (really good for the skills).

FO

4everFO
05-10-2012, 03:43 PM
Just announced that CX is parking 9 747s over the next 2 and a half years and parking BCFs (but this was expected as the 747-8Fs get delivered). So add 2-3 years to my forecasts....minimum.

CX is not a career airline anymore.

FO.

larry231
06-11-2012, 05:48 AM
Just announced that CX is parking 9 747s over the next 2 and a half years and parking BCFs (but this was expected as the 747-8Fs get delivered). So add 2-3 years to my forecasts....minimum.

CX is not a career airline anymore.

FO.

But on the other hand they are still receiving A330's B777's 748's so I guess those guys on the 744's will switch to a different fleet. Now it's just me assuming that.

Cheers

Larry

Braniff DC8
06-13-2012, 05:42 AM
Heard CX told it's new S/O's that if they did not sign to passenger (Not operate) on freighters they would be fired! CX has a history of constantly harrassing/threatening their pilots. Might wanna get a copy of the 49ers book. Stay as far away form CX as you can!

4everFO
06-13-2012, 06:10 PM
Heard CX told it's new S/O's that if they did not sign to passenger (Not operate) on freighters they would be fired!

That is 100% true.

Yes, new aircraft are arriving but the growth has been pushed back.

FO.

SebastianDesoto
07-02-2012, 06:38 PM
I emailed CX recently. I just wanted an idea of what they expect from direct entry pilots. I really wanted to work for Cathay so I really wanted to know. The answer I got from HR is they no longer hire direct entry pilots. They have 3 different hiring/training programs for Second officers. No experience, 61 weeks. 250 hours, 30 weeks. 1500 + ( no ATPL required) 12 weeks.

So, that is a training period, then second officer life in HK. Personally, I'm not sure I could survive it (Student loans :-p ). I have an ATP and a MBA all from my own loans.

SebastianDesoto
07-02-2012, 06:54 PM
I have to say, the evolution of employment conditions has gotten very discouraging.

Bill Lumberg
07-02-2012, 07:31 PM
You'll find a big thread on Cathay's SO program on Pprune.org. Take it all with a grain of salt - but it really does not sound good. I would avoid it...

SebastianDesoto
07-03-2012, 04:30 AM
I get the impression they would rather just train their pilots from the ground up. Not sure how this is going to work when it comes to captain qualifications.

The Dominican
07-03-2012, 05:02 AM
I get the impression they would rather just train their pilots from the ground up. Not sure how this is going to work when it comes to captain qualifications.

I think you are giving them way, and I do mean way too much credit, this is not about training from the ground up within the company culture or anything that noble, this is about cheap labor. If in the future they find themselves starving for quality commanders, they just pull the DEC card and voila'

GreenTailWhale
07-03-2012, 08:26 AM
I think you are giving them way, and I do mean way too much credit, this is not about training from the ground up within the company culture or anything that noble, this is about cheap labor. If in the future they find themselves starving for quality commanders, they just pull the DEC card and voila'

No comment regarding the new recruitment policy, but contrary to popular belief, it is not that easy to hire DEC's at CX.

1.) Per the conditions of service, direct entry captains are not allowed at CX. They have to be hired as FO's... then rapid command upgraded on the freighter. Even that is no longer allowed. (good luck passing training as a DEC at CX anyways!)

2.) The only reason it happened briefly on the freighter in 2008 was there were several retired CX and British British Airways skippers on the market when Oasis went bust who were readily available and current with Hong Kong CAD 747-400 P1 ratings. And even they were hired as FO's initially.

The Dominican
07-03-2012, 09:46 AM
I agree that it is unlikely that DEC's will happen at CX, my point was to illustrate that they are not worried about future supply of talent for command due to their cadet programs and attrition due to retirement, but your arguments about how difficult would be to pass training, well, those same arguments have been made of EK, and DEC's have now joined the line.

Papoo
07-20-2012, 09:25 PM
That is 100% true.

FO.

No, it isn't.

PX on the freighter has for a while been a contentious issue. the outcome of negotiations on the subject, has been for all crew to voluntarily elect to sign a form which gives them permission to be PXed on the freighter. Many haven't, but many have; it is a big help for a lot of the based guys getting home.

I haven't, but I do zero PXing, as it is.

I'll be back soon, with an account of first-hand experience, which hopefully will answer someof your questions.

4everFO
07-24-2012, 07:03 AM
No, it isn't..

What isn't true? The post that I said was 100% true was the fact that all new hire SOs are now told that their employment offer is based on them signing a letter stating that they will passenger on the freighter.

FO.

Papoo
08-01-2012, 12:06 AM
What isn't true?
FO.

all of it.

All aircrew were given a consent form to PX on the freighter. If it was signed, and returned, you were consenting to being PXed on the freighter. If you didn't, you were automatically removed from freighter PXing.

This has nothing to do with new joiners. They are given the same form as everyone else, with the same rights.

My personal belief that the feedback from said forms will form part of the ongoing review on basings. There was a subtle hint in the accompanying letter from management. Given that SOs aren't based, and do almost zero PXing, I can say with some certainty that the freighter PXing issue revolves around FOs and CNs. Naturally, given the freight network in our base countries, if based folks decide against being PXed on the freighter, it is going to impact base operations.

I can answer the bulk of anyone's questions on this programme, as I am 2 years into it. Happy to share good points, bad points and all in between...

4everFO
08-01-2012, 08:50 PM
New joiners are being given a form to sign like the rest of us, however they are being told that their continued employment is based on them consenting to PXing on the freighter. They do not have the same contractual rights, they only require 1 weeks pay if terminated (on probation in there first week of employment). SOs PX quite a bit on the 747 to and from ANC, especially when called out on reserve. Whatever your 'Personal' belief, the consent letter is a permanent waiving of contractual rights so all new joiners today will be the CNs and FOs of tomorrow.

2 years into what programme? Congratulations on hitting the two year mark in your programme.

FO

Papoo
08-02-2012, 08:21 PM
New joiners are being given a form to sign like the rest of us, however they are being told that their continued employment is based on them consenting to PXing on the freighter. They do not have the same contractual rights, they only require 1 weeks pay if terminated (on probation in there first week of employment). SOs PX quite a bit on the 747 to and from ANC, especially when called out on reserve. Whatever your 'Personal' belief, the consent letter is a permanent waiving of contractual rights so all new joiners today will be the CNs and FOs of tomorrow.

2 years into what programme? Congratulations on hitting the two year mark in your programme.

FO

It sounds like we are hearing different stories. That said, I have spoken to folks just arriving at CX. They are not being strong-armed into consenting to freighter PX. Perhaps it is those currently being interviewed?

When I mentioned 'rights', I was referring to the freighter PX form, not their CoS.

What you said is true, regarding PXing to ANC, but there isn't much recruitment on to the jumbo right now, and it looks likely to stay that way.

Of course, I 100% agree that the consent form is a permanent change to your rostering future, which is why I, and most others said no. I'd happily discuss a freight PX sector with CC on an individual basis, but I don't wish to have it as a mainstay on my roster for the rest of my career. I understand that the guys on the bases were likely to say yes, however, because many of them rely on it to make their base positions viable.

As I previously stated, my belief is that all of this freight PXing lark is part of the ongoing basing review, which as we know is the current hot potato, and HR flavour of the month. Based officers are by far the biggest users of freight PX, and consequently the biggest operational impact lies within the based contingent, should freighter PX be stopped.

I'm not in the know, and happy to be corrected, but that is my prediction.

I have just hit the 2 year mark with the company as an SO. Cheers!