An increasing number of Korean pilots of Korean Air and Asiana Airlines have quit their jobs recently to join airlines in China. The reason is simple. Chinese airlines are paying more than their Korean airlines.
From Jan. to July, 42 Korean Air pilots left to pilot airplanes for Chinese aviation companies for a bigger salary, according to material that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport submitted to Rep. Kim Sang-hee, who is on the Land and Transport Committee of the National Assembly. The figure rose sharply to 26 in 2013 and 27 in 2014.
Asiana Airlines also saw 29 pilots quit the company from Jan. to July this year. The figure was 24 in 2013 and 31 in 2014. Combining the numbers of retired pilots of Korean Air and Asiana Airlines and five low-priced Korean airliners, the figure stood at 111 in 2013, 155 in 2014, and 138 from Jan. to July this year.
Most of them have been leaving for China. This is because the average salary of captains with 15-year-old careers at Korean Air is around 150 million won (US$126,823), but 200 to 300 million won (US$169,098 to $253,647) at Chinese airliners. Lately, a Chinese airliner proposed 400 million won (US$338,196) as an annual salary to veteran Korean pilots.