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Old 01-03-2008, 07:31 AM   #1  
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Default To "Emirates" or "not to Emirates"

For of those who might be interested, here is a post I recently put on Pprune ref "Emirates" in response to an individual who is employed by a "legacy" carrier and is considering making the move to EK.

I hope it provides a somewhat balanced view........any additions and/or discreditation/contrary views from any/all is welcomed.

Best regards and Happy New Years to you all.

Dune



Friendly Pelican (and all others considering a career change to Emirates):


Quote:
Quote:
Hi guys,
I realise there is a lot of animus being vented at the moment, but I need a couple of honest answers please....
10K total, legacy carrier F/O, perhaps 2.5K PIC heavy turbine from a former life. Likely to pick up a narrowbody command this year.
Always held a torch to EK for 'citizen of the world' reasons.
Are EK still offering the accelerated-command program? If that's so, how would I stand?
What about DEC in a couple of years?
Yes, I realise the politics. At this stage it's about scoping an answer elsewhere..
Many thanks in advance for the considered replies......
Best wishes to all for the New Year
FP
Your question is one I've been asked many times by colleagues from "previous lives" who are contemplating a move to Emirates. Hence my response might be somewhat lengthy as I intend upon using this as a "template reply" to those who ask me in the future what I feel they should do.

While I'm sure there will be those who disagree (and I would encourage all expat pilots to provide input, not just Emirates types), here is my honest opinion/advice (Capt EK; been here going on 10 years; no management aspirations; consider myself rather "grounded" when compared to other posters on this website (my wife might disagree LOL!):

-Emirates is "generally" a good company from a pilots perspective (well capitalized, lots of new a/c orders, reasonably well organized in terms of rostering/staff travel/medical/education/housing/out-station support/etc).

-The lifestyle is "generally" of a good-to-high quality if you enjoy the beach/gym/sailing/etc (thanks in no part to Emirates; this is only a function of the Emirates Pilots Club which I tip my hat to!). My wife and I do enjoy this sort of lifestyle so for us this is a bonus and truly makes this place bearable. If you are not into this, in my opinion there is very little else beyond shopping

OK........that is the good stuff that I'm sure the recruiting team will have highlighted over and over in the promo-videos and the pumped-up recruitment road shows across the globe.

Now on to what you REALLY need to consider.

The problem with the whole thing is Dubai itself is a very difficult place to live in the long term. In 20 years it will be great with all the stuff they are building but currently it is nothing other than a huge construction site. This is not a short term problem; this is reality for the next 15-20 years. Even the government admits (albeit through "hints" in the local paper) that they are aware of the problem and are working towards a solution. The problem is the "solution" will not become reality for a very long time (they proudly mentioned 2015 as the time where they will have enough roads to handle all the cars). In the interim you are stuck inside a 24/7 construction site which for 4 months of the year resembles living inside a kiln (15 June-15 Oct inclusive ....trust me, those dates are unbelievably accurate based upon personal experience......and I like hot weather!).

Secondly; with due respect to other nationalities on this site, many of the "character issues" associated with those from the Middle East, India, Pakistan, etc will over time **** you off (insane driving without any talent/ability to actually control their vehicle.....leading to the deaths on the roads that have been talked about in detail; rude "butting in" in both traffic, banks, shopping centers; blatant staring at your wife/daughter by hordes of construction types, spitting out the window of the car, guys holding hands in public (and no, I am not homophobic LOL!) etc). In short, the term "uncivilized *******s" will become very clear to you when dealing with the majority of the population here.

Third, the other aspect to consider is the other "quality of life" issues. This would be the family/friends you leave and have little to no association with due to the disconnected nature of being an "international airline pilot". Do not discredit this aspect; while initially it all looks rosy there comes a time where you look back on all the friends getting together for house parties, lost family get togethers at the lake over the years, birthday parties, weddings, etc and really question whether the shiny airplanes and somewhat higher salary (rapidly dwindling at EK due to inflation and USD depreciation) is really worth it. The more you are here the more the answer becomes.....NO.

The point of this diatribe is I think this company/place is attractive (or not) depending on what part of the globe you are from, how old you are, how stable your current employment is with your current employer, and how long you plan to be here.

The single biggest question you need to ask yourself is:

"WHEN I/MY FAMILY HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS PLACE, WHAT IS NEXT?"

"WHERE WILL I GO?"

"WHAT WILL I DO?"

.......because no matter what there comes a time when all of us have had enough of this place. That is the reality of Emirates and Dubai.


Here is what I think about those pilots who are considering Emirates:


THOSE WHO I FEEL SHOULD COME

-those who have significant flight experience, are unemployed and don't have a reasonable chance of getting hired by a major airline in the foreseeable future.

-those who have significant flight experience, are currently employed and have jobs with questionable airlines (charter airlines in countries with a history of bankruptcy's, low cost carriers other than those that have a proven history of consistent performance, etc) and where you have a genuine concern your airline will not be around in the future.

-those who are with "junior" airlines with little flying experience (small jet; maybe turbo prop in the future) and do not feel they will ever be able to get hired by a "legacy" carrier in their home country.

-those from (I hate to use the term) 3rd world countries where the salary you would earn in your home country (no matter how long you stayed there) would not equate to that you would earn at Emirates.

-those that are with "legacy" carriers but, due to recession/restructuring/takeovers/etc. are within 8-10 years of retirement (ie. age 55 +) and feel they can do better in their remaining "productive" flying years coming to EK as opposed to staying at their current carrier.


THOSE WHO I FEEL SHOULD NOT COME


-in addition to that above, those with any sort of family issues that preclude a long term (ie.....plan on a lifetime) devotion to living outside your home country (because for the majority this will become the reality) commitment to living/working outside your home country.

IMHO

If you are in a "legacy" company with a potential long term career that you can enjoy in your home country.......do not leave. I envy those who are in large "legacy" companies that have the potential to be around for the next 20 years.......no guarantees but if things turn for the worst and you are not "bought out" at least you have the option of going overseas at that time. If I was able to get a narrow body command with a reasonable chance of my employer being around in 10 years........I would take it. PERIOD.

-if you decide to come to Emirates, do not count on staying here more than 10-12 years. When you go through this process, think about where you will go when you/your wife have had enough.......obviously "home" will not be an option due to union/seniority issues therefore you have committed you/your family to a life of living in foreign countries for the rest of your career. Are you prepared to do this?

Friendly Pelican:

In your position, I would stay home and take the command. A couple years and you'll be eligible for an Emirates DEC position (note: I do not agree in any aspect with this policy but it is what it is). If your legacy carrier works out you'll have the best of all worlds: a PIC position that pays reasonable wages in a community you'll enjoy living in.

Alternate: take the command but watch the economy. If the U.S. goes into recession in 2008 (this is very possible) and there are furloes; try to take a voluntary furlough and come to EK........but in all cases protect your seniority number. When times get better........take your 2-3 years at EK and then go back to civilization.
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:20 PM   #2  
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An excellent, well balanced, post Dune.


TP
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:30 PM   #3  
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Thanks Dune!
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:38 PM   #4  
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thanks Dune!
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:45 PM   #5  
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Was out having my favorite beverage with someone who said that they are considering opening a US base. It has caught the attention of a few of them, but it is probably just wishful thinking.
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:24 AM   #6  
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Great post Dune.......

I think those coming from a US 121 airline will be surprised at how different the working conditions are at EK. I went to the initial interview keeping an open mind, but what absolutely stunned me is that EK is pretty much all long-haul flying but the days off are ridiculously low!!! They can assign you as few as 8 days off a month, with the average seeming to be 13-14. Heck, I had more days off flying for a regional years ago. Long-haul flying is usually a great gig because of the time off you get AT HOME, but EK makes you work well over half the month. Also, seniority will not buy you any additional vacation periods. 42 days a year (which is great for a new guy), but that is it! Rosters are drawn up for you, there is no hard line bidding. Transitioning between equipment can be impossible and is not seniority based. The list goes on......
I agree that EK is a great gig for someone who is young, preferably single, and has a few years to play with, getting some heavy time and seeing the world, but for anyone else, I think they need to take a long hard look at what life will be like for them should they make the jump.
I think I have already reached my conclusion.
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Old 01-04-2008, 03:54 PM   #7  
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Couldn't disagree with you more. Over the last 12 months I have averaged only 60 hours a month. Even my last month on reserve, I only worked FIVE days. I average over 15 days off a month, even when not on vacation. It's all in how you do your preferential bidding, which most US airlines are going to anyway. They even make you take rest days before some trips and after. The rest requirements are much stricter than the FAAs. Sure some guys have been abused, tell me an airline where that doesn't happen. You just gotta know how to bid. Stay away from the turnarounds.....
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Old 01-28-2008, 09:26 AM   #8  
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Thanks for the reply Skyone,

I am planning on going to phase II in Dubai sometime in March for the EK interview. In my last post, I was alluding to the fact that the minimum time off in a month was 8 days; that part scares me! If they ever find themselves short-staffed (which seems to be probable this year), they can certainly abuse you! Preferential bidding works great depending on your seniority of course........
How long have you worked at EK? I'm still suffering from "heavyitis" and looking at the possibilities over there considering the US is looking like it's heading into a recession this year. But that's okay, we'll just borrow MORE money from the Chinese, give it to the American people who can then buy MORE of their products, right???
If you could clarify the seniority system / transition bids for me, I would appreciate it. I'm still pretty fuzzy on that whole deal. Happy flying!
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:15 PM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blueridger View Post
Thanks for the reply Skyone,

I am planning on going to phase II in Dubai sometime in March for the EK interview. In my last post, I was alluding to the fact that the minimum time off in a month was 8 days; that part scares me! If they ever find themselves short-staffed (which seems to be probable this year), they can certainly abuse you! Preferential bidding works great depending on your seniority of course........
How long have you worked at EK? I'm still suffering from "heavyitis" and looking at the possibilities over there considering the US is looking like it's heading into a recession this year. But that's okay, we'll just borrow MORE money from the Chinese, give it to the American people who can then buy MORE of their products, right???
If you could clarify the seniority system / transition bids for me, I would appreciate it. I'm still pretty fuzzy on that whole deal. Happy flying!
For the guys considering EK, this month has brought another stark reminder of how little control you have when you take an ex-pat job.

Last year was relatively quiet as staffing levels were pretty good. However, this year we know that there is record expansion planned and the panic has already started. Airbus Captains who were invited to bid onto the 777 last year, and who had course dates awarded, have suddenly found out that all such courses are cancelled. I assume that the 777 positions will be taken up by DECs.

The Feb. scheds came out with a nasty surprise; Pilots who were senior and had bid for stretches of days off had single day (or night) turn-around trips manually inserted after the original computer solution. This is a knee-jerk reaction from senior management who believe that 6-10 days off in a row are too much. The really galling part is that there is no productivity gain; they merely add these flights as a punitive measure to try and prevent commuting and keep guys in Dubai. (Full disclosure: my life is here and I don't bid or need stretches of days off. I just am discouraged by the childishness of our Flight Ops Management.)

I think some of the guys who have only seen calm times are in for an eye opener. "Knowing how to bid," is not going to help you when flights get inserted. Furthermore, just wait for "factoring" to be applied and then let's discuss FTLs. Finally, I wonder how guys will feel if, as was done in 2005, the new DECs are brought in at a higher salary than the existing Captains?

Anyway, my point in this forum is that you must weigh heavily the issue that you have absolutely no rights in this environment. This fact should be at the top of the the "Cons" on your Pros vs. Cons list, IMHO.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:11 AM   #10  
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Hi!

I have been looking at EK for 4 years. I finally decided it is not for us. If they do open N. American basing, which they will probably be forced to do, or if they set things up to be commutable, as Air India has, I would consider it.

I think companies like KAL and Cathay have it right-they hire pilots and allow them to base in their own countries.

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