Thursday, February 23, 2012

Asian airlines offer jobs to US pilots

MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Fla. (WSVN) -- Hundreds of pilots hoping to garner lucrative jobs attended a special South Florida job fair.

The job fair was held on Thursday at Miami International Airport.

Recruiters from several major Asian airlines offered jobs to skilled US pilots, who could possibly gain more money if they work overseas. "Between now and 2030, Asian Pacific needs 180,000 new pilots. China alone needs 70,000 new pilots, and these jobs are all paying very well, almost immediate captain seats for a lot of pilots now. They're sitting at the bottom of the list at American, United, Delta and many other carriers," said event organizer Greg Darrow.

Some pilots only make $16 an hour in the US. However, in Asia, they could make six-figure salaries. Event organizer Robin Li said, "The average salary is around $200,000 per year, something like that."

Some of the pilots who attended the job fair said it is not just about the money. "Part of it may even be as much as feeling like you're important and appreciated," said American Airlines captain Doug Lister. "There's not been much of that lately."

Asian airlines are looking to hire highly-skilled pilots, and have turned to South Florida for help in finding those captain-level pilots who have about 4,000 hours in the cockpit. "Is it going to decrease the quality of experience here? I don't think we're going to have a safety issue, but we're going to lose a lot of great people to China because the opportunity is so great," Darrow said.

Consequently, the U.S. could lose a lot of great pilots, who have landed better-paying jobs in Asia.

The two-day job fair will continue on Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

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