Chinese Airlines hope to hire away American pilots

Spencer Lubitz

Chinese Airlines hope to hire away American pilots

CREATED Feb. 26, 2012

Henderson, NV (KTNV) - Hundreds of American pilots could soon be taking off, literally, as recruiters from 12 different Chinese airlines arrived in Henderson, looking to hire away American pilots with the promise of bolstering their bank accounts.

“If times aren't that good for you here, I would definitely look at China,” said American born pilot Herbert Law, who now flies for Sichuan Airlines.

China's aviation industry is booming, they're adding new flights and new planes on a regular basis.  However, they say Chinese pilots aren't trained to fly the new planes, but American pilots have years of experience.  That's why they say the United States is the perfect place to find the talent they're looking for. 

 “Inside of China, we don’t have enough pilots.  So, we are here,” said Rong Yang or Shinzen Airlines.

With her airline recently declaring bankruptcy, pilot Gulcian Gilbert came to the job fair from Los Angeles to look at the dozen Chinese air carriers looking for experienced American pilots.

“It's unfortunate for American carriers that I am afraid there is going to be brain drain because a lot of really good pilots are looking elsewhere,” Gilbert said.

American pilots were told they could immediately make 35% more than their current salaries, or about $200,000 a year, if they switched to a Chinese airline.

“They pay very nicely but they are still getting in an incredible deal because they don't have to have paid for all that training,” said Gilbert.

Recruiters say there is no limit to the amount of American pilots they would like to hire, but they hoped to have employed more than 200 pilots before heading back to China.

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