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View Full Version : Transition to Asia


JackyW
02-06-2016, 06:45 AM
Hello everyone,

First off, I'll give you guys a bit of my background. I was born in Thailand (Thai Citizen) and I am currently studying in the Aeronautical Management and Technology major here in the Arizona. I have recently received my commercial pilots license, AMEL and ASEL.

My plan is to apply for the airlines back home which does not have minimum hour requirements. The requirements are that you are a Thai citizen, hold a commercial certificate (250 min hours) and a received at least bachelor's degree before you can apply (This is for both Thai Air Asia and Thai Airways). The only requirement I need is my bachelor's degree which I am planning to graduate in approximately a year from now.

I was wondering what the transition process is from having been flying in the United States, finished all training here and then going straight there after my bachelor's degree to work for the airlines in Thailand. People I have talked to had told me that it's a very easy transition since Thailand utilizes the FAA as well, not like going to Europe and needing EASA license. If anyone have information or have been through this process/experience, I would greatly appreciate your feedback. Thank you in advance!


Braniff DC8
02-06-2016, 07:10 AM
Jacky, be prepared for low pay and poor terms and conditions. I hope I don't offend you but Thailand is one of the worst as far as airlines go. Thai is in a bit of trouble. The others are not that great to work for. I can suggest you stay in the U.S. and fly for the tons of regionals that need crews. You'll build quality time quicker and although certainly not perfect, you'll find it better than most Thailand carriers. That's just my opinion though. Best of luck in your future.

Typhoonpilot
02-06-2016, 02:58 PM
Would have to agree with Braniff. With Thai Airways on the ropes, so to speak, and the plethora of low cost outfits in Asia there just don't appear to be any good jobs in Thailand right now. If anything I might target Bangkok Airways. They seem to be well run and have grown slowly, but steadily, over the last 20 years or so.

If it's possible for you to stay in the USA and do some flying after graduating I think it would serve you well over the course of your career. The biggest difference will be CRM and safety concepts, which are far more advanced in the USA than they are in Asia.


Typhoonpilot


NEDude
02-07-2016, 07:04 AM
The biggest difference will be CRM and safety concepts, which are far more advanced in the USA than they are in Asia.


Typhoonpilot

Careful, there are some people here who will take offense at pointing out how much the Asian carriers lag behind in safety concepts and CRM.

The Dominican
02-07-2016, 10:58 AM
Careful, there are some people here who will take offense at pointing out how much the Asian carriers lag behind in safety concepts and CRM.

I don't think discussing the issues is wrong...., I do think that filming a coalleague in the cockpit (regardless of where they are from, at that moment they are sharing a flight deck with you) and posting it on YouTube is wrong and quite frankly, shows a lack of character.

You wouldn't have done it if you were working at DAL, UAL, FDX... Period....! Professionalism shouldn't have geographical borders.

Probe
02-07-2016, 01:46 PM
JackyW;
Thailand does have some issues now, but they always have some issues. Thai Airways is downsizing, and there are some small, dodgy airlines in Thailand that are probably best to avoid if you can.

There are a couple of decent gigs there. Thai Air Asia also has the Thai national requirement. I don't know a lot about NOK, but Thai Lion Air is also growing there. Lion Air has a bad rep, but obviously you are looking to build time for a career. A lot of time you have to take what you can get.

There is also Jetstar and Tiger in Singapore. They hire newbies as well.

Good luck.

NEDude
02-08-2016, 07:45 AM
You wouldn't have done it if you were working at DAL, UAL, FDX... Period....! Professionalism shouldn't have geographical borders.

I didn't do it, nor will I. But I am a little forgiving when it comes to Chinese pilots lack of professionalism. I agree, professionalism should not have geographical borders. It is not western pilots you should be preaching that to. But the ones you should be preaching it to will refuse to listen simply because of geographical borders.

JackyW
02-08-2016, 08:40 AM
I didn't do it, nor will I. But I am a little forgiving when it comes to Chinese pilots lack of professionalism. I agree, professionalism should not have geographical borders. It is not western pilots you should be preaching that to. But the ones you should be preaching it to will refuse to listen simply because of geographical borders.

To all responses so far, thanks for your feedback! My main purpose to go back to Thailand is mainly to gain flight hours for a couple of years to move up to better airlines such as ANA and maybe even come back to the states in the main airlines later on.

And regarding the professionalism with Asian pilots, I can't disagree with all the comments. I personally have experience with those pilots here in Arizona. The lack of english proficiency is absurd. Even though I'm an international student, my english is fluent since I've been living here from Thailand for over 10 years now. But for pilots being sent here to train (all of them are from China), language is always a problem at my airport. I've personally had a few close calls doing a holding pattern over a VOR and the other plane did not follow tower's instruction causing him to be flying at the same altitude in the same hold.

I don't really think professionalism comes with a geographical border though. There are just more "unprofessional" pilots in that region. I feel like its the culture that they live in. In the United States, airplanes are simply a form of transportation, in other countries (especially in Asia), its considered something very special. Not many people get a chance to be in an airplane, especially not flying one due to cost and poverty. So people tend to want to "show off" which can definitely rise safety concerns as well as showing lack of being a professional.

uavking
02-08-2016, 11:32 AM
JackyW;
I don't know a lot about NOK

It looks like Nok will take Thai nationals with a commercial multi and a degree as 737-800/Q400/ATR FO per their website (You've already done your national service/are exempt, I take it?) I'd agree that THAI is in a rough patch, but that's not really anything new. Alot of their domestic and near regional flying is going to THAI Smile and Nok Air, though, so I'll bet that long term THAI just does long haul.

I guess the bigger question is why go back to Thailand to fly unless that's your only option? If you've got work rights here in the U.S., then to me that sounds like a better long term play. From a money and career progression standpoint, I think the U.S. market can't be beat right now. I say this as someone who could pick up a Thai passport through my mother and go work there.

JackyW
02-08-2016, 04:35 PM
It looks like Nok will take Thai nationals with a commercial multi and a degree as 737-800/Q400/ATR FO per their website (You've already done your national service/are exempt, I take it?) I'd agree that THAI is in a rough patch, but that's not really anything new. Alot of their domestic and near regional flying is going to THAI Smile and Nok Air, though, so I'll bet that long term THAI just does long haul.

I guess the bigger question is why go back to Thailand to fly unless that's your only option? If you've got work rights here in the U.S., then to me that sounds like a better long term play. From a money and career progression standpoint, I think the U.S. market can't be beat right now. I say this as someone who could pick up a Thai passport through my mother and go work there.

As of my current visa status, Thai or anywhere in Asia is the best choice. Since I'll be graduating soon, applying for a green card and getting a US citizenship will definitely take too long. Right now, I'm trying to look for the best work opportunity available for myself that I could go straight in from university to the airlines.

Unfortunately the regionals in the United States does not apply for work visa for international pilots like the major airlines do or else I would've gone that route.

So if US is not an option for right now, what airline would you recommend that I could go work there right away without requiring 2000+ hours other than Thai and Air Asia?

Typhoonpilot
02-08-2016, 08:40 PM
You might look at Susi Air in Indonesia for time building.

....or stay in the USA on an education Visa while getting a Master's. Flight instruct to build time while studying. That way you can get up to at least 500 or 750 or 1000+ hours before you go back to Thailand and perhaps some chance to stay in the States might present itself in the meantime.

That additional flight time would set you apart from the hordes of Comm-Inst-Multi kids, and please try not to pay ridiculous amounts of money for your training for an airline. A reasonable bond is the norm, but don't pay up front, i.e. Lion Air pay to fly scheme.

....oh and marrying an American girl could prove helpful in the short term :)


TP

HVYMETALDRVR
02-09-2016, 07:10 AM
You beat me to it. Susi Air in Indonesia looks like fun, and at least your closer to home than in the US. The pay isn't great, I hear it's something like 1500 USD/month, but they give you a place to live with a maid, a cook, and transportation to and from work. COLA adjustment (including housing and transportation) to the US that's probably like making 55K+/yr in the States. Plus the flying looks like a blast.

Good Luck!

uavking
02-09-2016, 08:46 AM
So if US is not an option for right now, what airline would you recommend that I could go work there right away without requiring 2000+ hours other than Thai and Air Asia?

Well, in that case I'd look hard at what Nok offers. If the pay is ok, and you don't get screwed on a bond, that might be a good way to get the regional experience in Thailand. Aircraft are maintained to THAI standards and I think they use the same schoolhouse, so that's cool. I see guys mentioning Susi, and Indonesia would be fun, but the money just isn't there if you can get on at Nok.

Spin
02-09-2016, 09:45 AM
...oh and marrying an American girl can prove helpful in the short term.
And in the long term?

Braniff DC8
02-11-2016, 07:57 AM
Did you not see the special on flying for Susi Air the pilot that got Malaria? How many of you have actually been to Indonesia?

Go to a U.S. Carrier with a flow through and avoid the craziness and risking your life. The industry has changed and you don't need to do crazy dangerous things anymore the be recognized as having "experience".

And those other outfits mentioned in Asia are all rubbish.

If the regionals need you bad enough, as we have recently seen with Ozzies, you can get a visa or go to Australia and fly for REX. REX really needs crews and would probably get you a 457 visa. Just a thought.

oicur12
02-11-2016, 09:15 AM
“Careful, there are some people here who will take offense at pointing out how much the Asian carriers lag behind in safety concepts and CRM.”

Yep, and I am one of them.

Take a look at the safety record of airlines in Japan for example. ANA is up there with the best and must have a reasonable “safety concept”.

Singapore Airlines too. Cathay, Dragonair. There are plenty of large airlines in Asia that have great safety records. Even some in China dare I say.

HVYMETALDRVR
02-11-2016, 02:05 PM
Did you not see the special on flying for Susi Air the pilot that got Malaria? How many of you have actually been to Indonesia?

Go to a U.S. Carrier with a flow through and avoid the craziness and risking your life. The industry has changed and you don't need to do crazy dangerous things anymore the be recognized as having "experience".

And those other outfits mentioned in Asia are all rubbish.

If the regionals need you bad enough, as we have recently seen with Ozzies, you can get a visa or go to Australia and fly for REX. REX really needs crews and would probably get you a 457 visa. Just a thought.

Keep in mind, the OP only has 250 hours and is a time builder, so the US Regionals are off the table for a year or so.

Lucky8888
02-11-2016, 04:36 PM
Most airlines in China (not Taiwan) have excellent safety ratings.

Airline Safety Ranking 2016 » JACDEC (http://www.jacdec.de/airline-safety-ranking-2016/)

DCA A321 FO
02-11-2016, 05:57 PM
Most airlines in China (not Taiwan) have excellent safety ratings.

Airline Safety Ranking 2016 » JACDEC (http://www.jacdec.de/airline-safety-ranking-2016/)

Heard they also give you one hell of a physical.

Braniff DC8
02-12-2016, 06:18 AM
You must also include Indonesia which probably has the worst safety record. Thailand, unfortunately, is close. Malaysia and Singapore are up there but most do not hear about the issues in or at Singapore. CX and KA will have issues coming as both operations are being poorly run with a lot of new inexperienced joiners. Don't get me started on China and India.

I think it's the sophistication of the airplanes now that keep a lot out of trouble. I would hazard a guess that the hull losses would be higher if that part of the world was still flying 727s, DC9 etc. Remember that 20/30 years ago lots of experienced pilots around including the refugee Ozzies from the strike. Also, a lot of carriers were built on the experience and management of the bigger world airlines. It took Korean time to figure that out and now Indonesia is starting to come up with the help of the Ozzies. There is a long way to go and it remains to be seen what will happen.

oicur12
02-12-2016, 08:00 AM
“. . . . Singapore are up there” with regards to?

Lumping them into the same category as Indo is not fair at all.

CX has ALWAYS had inexperienced joiners, that is nothing new.

And what makes you think KA is poorly run? Compared to which airline? Still an enviable safety record in a particularly harsh flying environment the likes of which most domestic pilots here in the US would never experience.

A quick look into the DL MD88 over run or the AA 737 over run or the UPS CFIT or the National 744 crash show that STOOPID mistakes are being made in airlines here too, often the result of very marginal CRM.

And lets not start discussing FEDEX and their stellar record.

As much as I hate to admit it, Lucky 888 has a good point.

dera
02-18-2016, 02:00 PM
...oh and marrying an American girl can prove helpful in the short term.
And in the long term?

Marrying for a green card is a long term plan, they'll give you a temporary work permit, and you can apply for the "full" green card after you've been married for 2 years.

mkfmbos
04-26-2017, 04:39 AM
As of my current visa status, Thai or anywhere in Asia is the best choice. Since I'll be graduating soon, applying for a green card and getting a US citizenship will definitely take too long. Right now, I'm trying to look for the best work opportunity available for myself that I could go straight in from university to the airlines.

Unfortunately the regionals in the United States does not apply for work visa for international pilots like the major airlines do or else I would've gone that route.

So if US is not an option for right now, what airline would you recommend that I could go work there right away without requiring 2000+ hours other than Thai and Air Asia?

Unfortunately, most carriers out here reserve the cadet slots for locals. Makes no sense as you end up paying for your own type anyways. If you feel like you can get a green card and citizenship in the US then I'd do it, unless of course being home in Thailand is what you want. There are plenty of jobs in the states to hold you over for a while. Green card takes 6 months and I believe you can apply with that. Then work until you get 1300-1500 and apply to a regional. It may seem like a long time but you have to think in terms of decades. This job is a long haul and your number one goal from day one should be to finish your career at your "dream airline". I think a lot of guys forget that and then end up finishing their career with 20 different jobs.

But you can try VietJet, or some carriers in Indonesia like Citilink, Batik Air. They will take anyone as long as you fork out the dough. Be wary though that some other carriers in the region look down on these carriers and it could hinder you in the future. Heres a video of a Citilink pilot. Maybe he'll be your training captain! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKdZt6ImXVg

mkfmbos
04-26-2017, 04:43 AM
You must also include Indonesia which probably has the worst safety record. Thailand, unfortunately, is close. Malaysia and Singapore are up there but most do not hear about the issues in or at Singapore. CX and KA will have issues coming as both operations are being poorly run with a lot of new inexperienced joiners. Don't get me started on China and India.

I think it's the sophistication of the airplanes now that keep a lot out of trouble. I would hazard a guess that the hull losses would be higher if that part of the world was still flying 727s, DC9 etc. Remember that 20/30 years ago lots of experienced pilots around including the refugee Ozzies from the strike. Also, a lot of carriers were built on the experience and management of the bigger world airlines. It took Korean time to figure that out and now Indonesia is starting to come up with the help of the Ozzies. There is a long way to go and it remains to be seen what will happen.

Agree 100%. Also the rate they are flying as well. They are just beginning to expand and its going to catch up. Hopefully they realize that just because you paint your airplane like donald duck doesn't mean donald duck can sit in the flight deck.

freezingflyboy
05-02-2017, 07:20 PM
All this talk about safety records...

Not crashing is not synonymous with "safe". Accident rates are only the final piece of the puzzle (and probably the smallest). Not having had an accident doesn't mean the holes aren't there, just that they haven't lined up yet. Being safe means active vigilance for and management of those "holes" in order to minimize risk and avoid an incident or accident. I think it is that vigilance for "holes" and willingness or ability to mitigate risks that some would say is lacking in the cultures at some foreign carriers.

NEDude
05-03-2017, 04:14 AM
All this talk about safety records...

Not crashing is not synonymous with "safe". Accident rates are only the final piece of the puzzle (and probably the smallest). Not having had an accident doesn't mean the holes aren't there, just that they haven't lined up yet. Being safe means active vigilance for and management of those "holes" in order to minimize risk and avoid an incident or accident. I think it is that vigilance for "holes" and willingness or ability to mitigate risks that some would say is lacking in the cultures at some foreign carriers.

Very good point. When I was in China, the airline and CAAC officials loved to brag about their (officially reported) safety rate was better than the United States and Europe since 2011. They said that was proof that the Chinese safety systems were better than what we have in the west. However the lack of standardisation, the over-reliance on automation, and the lack of a non-punitive safety reporting and auditing system convinced me otherwise. I am also convinced a lot of stuff does not get reported.

Last year, just before I left China, my airline had three Alpha Floor events (A320 operator) in the span of five weeks, two of them at high altitude and one after a go-around. These were with Chinese pilots at the controls. The only reason the expat group ever found out about them is that a few of the expat friendly Chinese FOs told us about them. Alpha Floor is a big deal and those events usually get reported globally, and are investigated by aviation authorities. Yet these three incidents were not reported outside of China. So yeah, I am convinced there is a lot of stuff in China we do not hear about, and never will unless it is too big of an incident to cover up.

Milksheikh
05-03-2017, 05:07 AM
All this talk about safety records...
Not crashing is not synonymous with "safe". Accident rates are only the final piece of the puzzle (and probably the smallest). Not having had an accident doesn't mean the holes aren't there, just that they haven't lined up yet. Being safe means active vigilance for and management of those "holes" in order to minimize risk and avoid an incident or accident. I think it is that vigilance for "holes" and willingness or ability to mitigate risks that some would say is lacking in the cultures at some foreign carriers.

The really fun times haven't begun just yet. I bet we'll start to see the accident rates jump up a lot when all these inexperienced FO's become inexperienced capts and are now sitting next to new 250 hr FO's.

JackyW
05-04-2017, 10:28 AM
After reading the comments here, I'm on the border as to whether I should stay in the U.S. or move back to Thailand. I applied for a permanent resident a few months back and it has already been approved. I can legally work in both countries without any issues. I recently just graduated from my university as well. As of now, I have about 350 flight hours. Working in Thailand only for a couple of years would allow me to advance a bit faster to the mainlines but working in the U.S. also interests me.

I am trying to avoid the CFI route since that will cost me more money so my choices are to apply to companies such as Mokulele and Air Choice One in the United States. Or if I go to Thailand, I'd most likely be applying to Thai Airways or Nok Air since AirAsia announced that they will no longer accept qualified pilots unless I have the requirements to join them as a captain. What are your opinions on this?

Typhoonpilot
05-05-2017, 10:51 PM
After reading the comments here, I'm on the border as to whether I should stay in the U.S. or move back to Thailand. I applied for a permanent resident a few months back and it has already been approved. I can legally work in both countries without any issues. I recently just graduated from my university as well. As of now, I have about 350 flight hours. Working in Thailand only for a couple of years would allow me to advance a bit faster to the mainlines but working in the U.S. also interests me.

I am trying to avoid the CFI route since that will cost me more money so my choices are to apply to companies such as Mokulele and Air Choice One in the United States. Or if I go to Thailand, I'd most likely be applying to Thai Airways or Nok Air since AirAsia announced that they will no longer accept qualified pilots unless I have the requirements to join them as a captain. What are your opinions on this?


Word on the street here in Thailand is that Nok is on the ropes. Doubt they will last much longer in their present form and that certainly does not bode well for hiring. Air Asia or Thai Lion might be the better choices. Just make sure you do due diligence on the carrier you choose should you come back to Thailand.

Hoof Hearted
05-26-2017, 02:57 AM
I think you are on the right track. FWIW, after graduation, you could try and get on with some of the LCC's in Thailand and get your experience. You'll upgrade within 3-5 years and then you can try to get on with Thai Airways. Living expenses in Thailand are not to bad and you can live comfortably on your salary. I would start getting your CV together and start sending out 6 months before graduation. Read the responses here and weigh with a grain of salt. You need to come to a decision that fits you. Good Luck

Typhoonpilot
05-26-2017, 04:01 AM
Thai Vietjet is now in operation so that's another possibility.

joepilot
06-03-2017, 07:34 AM
Experience, either seat, in actual airline aircraft, goes a long way toward getting hired at a legacy airline. Go back to Thailand, get ATP minimums, then figure some way to get turbine PIC, which is the other biggie to getting on with a legacy.

Joe

Kapitanleutnant
06-04-2017, 09:13 PM
I'm under the impression that the Thai carriers can't and won't hire westerners due to their hiring locals only policies. I know of only one colleague hired as a DEC at a 767 operation for a Thai airline that is now out of business.

Has that changed the past 2 years or so??

Kap

Typhoonpilot
06-05-2017, 12:45 AM
I'm under the impression that the Thai carriers can't and won't hire westerners due to their hiring locals only policies. I know of only one colleague hired as a DEC at a 767 operation for a Thai airline that is now out of business.

Has that changed the past 2 years or so??

Kap


There is some hiring of expat pilots. Asia Atlantic has quite a few; Nok has a small number; NokScoot was going to hire them. Not sure about Thai Lion, Thai Vietjet, and Thai Air Asia.



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