Following two serious crashes and the resultant grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max, Chinese airlines have stopped hiring foreign pilots to fly these jets.
There was a time when foreign pilots were spoilt for choice when it came to choosing which airline to fly for. They were also paid handsome salaries in the face of acute shortage of experienced pilots in China. Some pilots took home over $300,000 in salary. They also received enviable perks, such as attractive signing bonuses, education allowances and free flights.
While Chinese airlines continue to pay good salaries, which are much better than the median salary of any American commercial pilot, the grounding of the 737 Max for about nine months now, has reduced the demand for foreign pilots flying the same. The 737 Max used to be a best seller in China, and formed about 20 per cent of the global fleet of the Chinese aviation space.
Since it is uncertain as to when the 737 Max or any of its variants will be reinstated, the demand for expat pilots has fallen drastically.
Meanwhile, Boeing is undergoing close scrutiny due to the two crashes that were responsible for the loss of 346 lives last year in March and October.
The slowdown of the Chinese economy due to its trade war with the US has only added to the woes of the aviation sector of the country.