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View Full Version : Any opportunities in Europe?


orangetree
05-21-2015, 02:19 AM
Hi,

I got a question as well. Me and my fiance will be getting married later this year, he's American, I'm European. He's a captain flying the A320 for a major airline, has been working for them for a total of 8 years. We would like to leave the country in the future and move to Europe, but I am aware that that might not be that easy. Through our marriage, he will have the right to live and work in Europe, but how easy or difficult would it be for him to find work there? He speaks fluently English and Spanish. Any advice helps!

Thanks so much.


Denti
05-21-2015, 03:47 AM
The lowcost carriers are hiring, but prefer cadets from very few specific pilot schools, experience is not values there. Apart from that it is pretty slim, although the hiring window at british airways is open right now. Of course as a seniority driven legacy carrier everyone starts at the lowest pay point and as the most junior FO.

However the biggest problem might be gaining an EASA license. Which requires to take all 14 theoretical exams for which there is no officially released question bank. Additional to that you need practical training and a check flight (might be a simulator check). The amount of training depends on what the FTO you want to train with deems necessary.

Speaking the local language is pretty much required for any airline in europe with very few exceptions.


All in all the market is very bad right now, unemployment rates for pilots vary between 10 and 25% in european states.

NEDude
05-21-2015, 07:16 PM
The lowcost carriers are hiring, but prefer cadets from very few specific pilot schools, experience is not values there. Apart from that it is pretty slim, although the hiring window at british airways is open right now. Of course as a seniority driven legacy carrier everyone starts at the lowest pay point and as the most junior FO.

However the biggest problem might be gaining an EASA license. Which requires to take all 14 theoretical exams for which there is no officially released question bank. Additional to that you need practical training and a check flight (might be a simulator check). The amount of training depends on what the FTO you want to train with deems necessary.

Speaking the local language is pretty much required for any airline in europe with very few exceptions.


All in all the market is very bad right now, unemployment rates for pilots vary between 10 and 25% in european states.

Occasionally there will be some European airlines that will hire with an FAA license and do the validation while you convert to an EASA. But they usually do not pay well and do require EU/EEA citizenship. I hold dual citizenship (USA and an EU country) and an FAA certificate and was offered an opportunity with Small Planet Airlines for the left seat of the A320 on my FAA license. But I have serious doubts about their willingness to have done that if I did not hold EU citizenship as well. In the end the pay and roster paled in comparison to what I have now - I live in Europe and work in China on a 4/4 schedule. That is the biggest problem I see, there are jobs available in Europe, but for the most part the pay and work schedules are terrible. I think the best option in Europe right now, and it is not very well known, is that Brussels Airlines (Star Alliance member and part of the Lufthansa Group) is hiring directly into the left seat of the A320. But they do require EU/EEA citizenship and the EASA license. I have no idea of the pay and work schedule though. The other LCCs and ULCCs like Wizz Air, EasyJet, Norwegian and Ryanair will hire directly into the left seat, but pay and rosters are not very good. There are ton of Europeans who go elsewhere simply because of the poor pay.

When I first moved to Europe from the states a few years ago, before I was able to acquire my EU citizenship, I was in the same situation you and your fiancÚ are in, I was American and my wife was from Europe. Unfortunately the way it was explained to me, a family reunification residence permit only gives you the right to live and work in the nation your EU family member resides in. Now the EU family member can reside in any EU/EEA country (so the EU plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein), but you cannot reside in one country and have your non-EU spouse work in another EU country. Most European airlines want a full, unrestricted right to live and work in the EU/EEA. Unfortunately that basically means acquiring citizenship.

As for the EASA conversion, it is pain in the rear, but doable. I am still working on it but have had a few friends complete it. The UK has the most well defined process for converting, but Poland is by far the cheapest that I have found. Medical and all 14 exams + 3 retakes per subject will run you about €400/$445. In the UK it will run a few thousand dollars. Then, as mentioned, you have to do the simulator skills test and that obviously is a few thousand dollars as well. You can get the EASA through Poland and then spend a few $$ and transfer the license to whatever country you want it to be in.

A couple of other things to consider. First of all I have a friend who flies for Delta but currently lives in Germany. He is able to make it work but it is only a short term deal for he and his wife. They will be moving back to the States at some point. I did the trans-Atlantic commute for a little while as well and it is doable, but it really destroyed my QOL. I was constantly stressed about making flights, jet lagged and not able to make it home very often. What I ended up doing, as I mentioned earlier, is taking a contract job in China on a 4 weeks on/4 weeks off contract. Pay is very good, commuting flights are positive space and reimbursed. And nothing beats 4 week blocks of vacation six (sometimes seven) times per year. My QOL is the best it has ever been. Flying in China has its own unique challenges, but I only have to deal with them four weeks at a time and then I get four weeks to fully enjoy living in Europe without having to stress about work.

Hopefully you find this helpful. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions.

Let me add a couple of last things that I just thought about. Make sure you are very aware of the tax/financial implications of being an American residing and working overseas. Yes, you do have the foreign income exclusion of around $100,000, and most countries have a tax treaty that eliminates double taxation on regular income. But the exclusion and treaties do not exclude investment income, meaning you will often get double taxed, both from your country of residence and by the U.S. if you have investment income. Also you need to be aware of FBAR, this means you must report any and all non U.S. bank accounts to the Financial Crimes Bureau of the U.S. Treasury department when you have at least $10,000 total outside the United States. You must report ALL of those accounts, even if they are jointly held by a non-U.S. citizen. The penalties for failing to do it can be catastrophic. If you hold a U.S. Green Card, even if you have moved out of the United States, you are bound by the same law. You must also report any accounts you have signatory authority over. So if you are on a corporate account, that account has to be reported to the United States, even if it is not a U.S. corporation. FATCA also requires all non-U.S. financial institutions to report their dealings with 'U.S. Persons' (meaning U.S. citizens and Green Card holders) if they have more than $50,000 in the account. The banks can be punished quite harshly for failing to comply. The result is many financial institutions around the world are starting to treat American expatriates as toxic and refusing services to us. I was turned down for a mortgage and a retirement account due to my U.S. citizenship. Other people have been denied even a regular checking account and have even had their mortgages revoked. The only way around these issues are to renounce/relinquish U.S. citizenship, turn all of your financial dealings over to your non-U.S. spouse, or never buy a house and save for retirement. And lastly, I cannot emphasise this enough, if you, as the spouse/fiancee, hold a U.S. Green Card, you are bound by the same laws and policies. Your only escape is to formally turn in your Green Card and get proof that you have done so.




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