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Old 01-31-2006, 07:12 AM   #1  
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Default Cathay Pacific SO

I was wondering if anyone had any insight into the second officer position at Cathay. The biggest question is how long will it take to make first officer? Currently i meet the second officer qualifications and am relatively young so if its not a long upgrade then i guess its worth it. My current job is with a commuter flying a turbo-prop with about a year to upgrade captian. Just thought i through it out there for some comments.
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:07 AM   #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudkicker1981
I was wondering if anyone had any insight into the second officer position at Cathay. The biggest question is how long will it take to make first officer? Currently i meet the second officer qualifications and am relatively young so if its not a long upgrade then i guess its worth it. My current job is with a commuter flying a turbo-prop with about a year to upgrade captian. Just thought i through it out there for some comments.
Cathay could be a dream come true for you...if you can get it, take. You'll do some time in Hong Kong, but there's lots to do out there. You can switch over to cargo eventually, which has several major US bases. You'll be treated like a god and paid accordingly. The catch...you have to be in pefect medical condition and have a perfect and verifiable background. They'll give you an astronaut physical exam, and if they can't track down your third grade teacher for the background check you won't get hired.


If you have any "problems" don't waste your time; it's a long round trip to Hong Kong (Twice!) for the two interviews.

Bit if you think you're squeeky clean, go for it... They'd rather a hire a low time but clean candidate than an experienced pilot with any kind of skeletons. Oh and their vision requirements are not as relaxed as in the US.
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:58 AM   #3  
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Try to track down Bjammin on Flightinfo. He is a new hire freighter F.O. and can probably answer your question. There is a thread going on over there now entitled Foreign Carrier in the Furloughed section which he has posted on.

As I understand it the upgrade actually goes from Second Officer to Junior First Officer then to First Officer. Not sure of the difference between JFO and FO.

Lots of good info over on Pprune as well. Check out the Fragrant Harbour wannabe section.


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Old 01-31-2006, 10:16 AM   #4  
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As I understand it the upgrade actually goes from Second Officer to Junior First Officer then to First Officer. Not sure of the difference between JFO and FO.
SOs and I think JFOs are not allowed to actually fly the airplane. They do in-flight relief for the real pilots on long flights (w/ the autopilot on), and maintain their currency in the sim
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Old 01-31-2006, 02:34 PM   #5  
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Cathay SO are inflight relief pilots. They do not fly the aircraft, only cruise flight relief while the operating crew rest. Junior FO's DO fly the aircraft, however they have operational restrictions, like very low x-wind limits/weather criteria.

Progression at Cathay for a SO is; SO-JFO-FO-SFO (Senior FO)-CA (Command)

A Senior FO acts as inflight relief command.

Progression at Cathay for a Freight DEFO is; FO-SFO-CA

Last edited by looking_around; 01-31-2006 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 01-31-2006, 03:04 PM   #6  
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I'm going to sound a little ignorant here, but does Cathay require one of the ATPs that they use overseas... the one that I keep hearing is very expensive to convert a US ATP to? I hope this question makes sense... At least I know what I'm trying to ask.
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Old 01-31-2006, 07:13 PM   #7  
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Your ATP is good. No money involved. Cathay is the best pax job in the world. If you have the ability/opportunity living overseas is great. I would have gone there if UPS had not hired me.
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:39 PM   #8  
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you are not treated like a god not paid accordingly. since the anti labor swire group took over things have gone down hill fast. have you heard about the "hiring embargo"?is not inplace now but there was a reason for it.

if you want to go there as a career that's better than the US commuters, but is no way nearer in pay and benefits to ups, fedex, Astar or ABX. look a the cargo pay scale, is Polar's equivalent with less days off. the passenfger side has several pay scales and you will never see the A scale that pays good.

You will need to live in hong kong and before you can upgrade to captain you need to rotate on both airbus and boeing, thus moving back to hong kong every few years if you bid out of it.

if you want to make acareer in the US that is not the place to go, if you want to make a cereer overseas then maybe.
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:00 AM   #9  
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Thanks typhoon, i checked out flightinfo and got a lot of useful information. Which then also took me to another forum, with great things. I think im starting to realize how big a process this is going to be, and preparing myself is the best way to improve my chances. There is a lot of oppertunity at Cathay but with some trade off's like previously stated. I appricate all the help I can get!
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Old 02-04-2006, 08:24 PM   #10  
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A lot of people who never work for Cathay will believe that Cathay Salary & Benefits is ****. What people often forget is the fact that you pay 70% less tax in Hong Kong when compare to working in Canada or the USA. Also, a lot of the old timer at US major will compare their salary with Grade B (current) salary level at Cathay. Which isn't really a good comparison, especially at this time when all the US carrier are cutting back. The salary at US carriers is actually a lot worst then Cathay. Just to give you a rough idea on Cathay Grade B Basic Salary not including housing allowance and outport allowance (HKD7.78 = USD1):

Second Officer (Annual Salary):
Year 1: HKD386,556 (USD49,685)
Year 2: HKD432,960 (USD55,650)
Year 3: HKD484,920 (USD62,329)
Year 4: HKD543,108 (USD69,808)
(Usually you will be an SO for about 3 years)

Junior First Officer (Annual Salary):
Year 1: HKD593,052 (USD76,227)
Year 2: HKD664,224 (USD85,375)
(You will be a JFO for 1 year or a little bit over a year only)

First Officer (Annual Salary):
Year 1: HKD771,180 (USD99,123)
Year 2: HKD784,116 (USD100,786)
Year 3: HKD797,316 (USD102,482)
Year 4: HKD810,780 (USD104,213)
(You will be an FO for about 3 years)

Senior First Officer / Relief Commander (Annual Salary):
Year 1: HKD838,248 (USD107,743)
Year 2: HKD859,668 (USD110,497)
Year 3: HKD881,736 (USD113,333)
Year 4: HKD904,452 (USD116,253)
Year 5: HKD927,864 (USD119,262)
Year 6: HKD951,972 (USD122,361)
(You will be an SFO for 3 to 4 years but that will all depend on your ability to pass your command upgrade which lately tends to have a few failure)

Captain (Annual Salary):
Year 1: HKD1,180,500 (USD151,735)
Year 2: HKD1,201,620 (USD154,449)

Senior Captain (Annual Salary):
Year 1: HKD1,223,136 (USD157,215)
Year 2: HKD1,245,096 (USD160,657)
Year 3: HKD1,267,488 (USD162,916)
Year 4: HKD1,290,336 (USD165,852)
Year 5: HKD1,313,628 (USD168,846)
Year 6: HKD1,337,400 (USD171,902)
Year 7: HKD1,361,640 (USD175,017)
Year 8: HKD1,386,360 (USD178,195)
and on and on until Year 17: HKD1,632,384 (USD209,817)

And that is just the basic salary, you will also get housing allowance which is up to a maximum of HKD360,000 per year (USD46,272) for second officer (I know, you get almost as much housing as your salary as an second officer but CX need to do that in order to get people to work in Hong Kong as housing is very expensive here. The actual amount of allowance also depends on the lease or mortage that you are planning to take. If you decided to take the form of cash, Cathay will give you about 70% of the maximum amount in cash towards your salary but you will have to worry about signing your own lease, etc. The same goes to FO and Captain), HKD540,000 (USD69,408) for FO and HKD780,000 (USD100,257) for Captain. Also you will get a decent amount of outport allowance which is usually more then enough for your spending when you are overnighting at an outport. CX will contribute an amount equal to 15.5% of your salary to your retirement funds which is pretty good compare to many company. Your contribution is optional, you can contribute anywhere from 5, 10 to 15%.

Also tax in Hong Kong is relatively low, expect to pay about 15 to 20% depending on your salaries toward tax. It is your responsibility to pay your own tax.

So let's do a quick comparison for an entry level pilot, if you are working as a new first officer at any US major, you are probably looking at USD60,000 per year. At discounter like southwest or Jet Blue, that figures is only about USD45,000 (all info taken from USA Today). So when you compare a second officer at Cathay you will be making about USD49,685 per year so minus tax in Hong Kong which is much lower (15%), you will get about USD42,232. Then add-on 70% of your housing allowance (I am assuming that you will take the cash options but I don't recommand it because this way you will have to end getting less money) which works out to be about USD32,390. So your actual salary is actually USD74,622. So when you compare this to any US major, they simply can't match the salary. At any major US airlines, you will get paid USD60,000 but you will only get about USD40,000 to USD45,000 after tax (roughly about 25% tax). So in effect you will get paid about USD30,000 more at Cathay as an new pilot.

So let's have a look at an experience pilot down the road when you eventually becomes a captain. At Cathay, Year 1 Captain will get paid USD151,735. Again, if you factor in the tax difference (about 20% tax in Hong Kong at this level of salary). You will get about USD121,388 plus housing allowance. Again if you take cash, so you get about 70%, which works out to be an addition of USD70,180. So in total, you will be making about USD194,602 as an Year 1 Captain at Cathay. So how about US carries? You will be looking at making about USD200,000 at the US major. At Southwest and Jet Blue, you will make around USD120,000 to USD150,000. When you deduct tax at major US carries with USD200,000 salary (roughly about 40% tax), you will probably pocket about USD120,000.

So which airline is better to work for? Cathay or US major? That will all depends on your lifestyle choice. In terms of money, Cathay will be better. I know a lot of people who is very senior at US major airlines will disagree with my figure. But you can't compare Cathay Grade B to the old US major salary. Do an apple to apple comparison, use Cathay Grade A to compare to the old US major salary. You will still notice that Cathay will paid just as well if you are an old timer. In the current enviroment, I am much happier to work for Cathay who is making money then working for any US major with whom I might get layoff any day. This is just my opinion. Everyone will look at this differently so it is better to make your own decision on this matter.

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