It has been found that South Korean pilots working for Chinese airlines have been excluded from long-distance flights and talks for more South Korean pilots to work for such Chinese companies have been put on hold. “This started late last year, when the Chinese government began to retaliate against the South Korean government’s decision in favor of THAAD deployment in the Korean Peninsula,” one of the pilots remarked.
For the past couple of years, no less than 100 or so pilots moved to China in pursuit of higher wages. For example, the number of such pilots increased from nine to 46 between 2014 and 2015 and then to 48 last year in the case of Korean Air. The number was four in 2014, 11 in 2015 and 10 or so in 2016 in the case of Asiana Airlines.
“In view of the very high salary of the South Korean pilots hired by Chinese airlines yet compelled to be idle these days, it seems that the Chinese government is very mad at the South Korean government,” the pilot went on to say.
In the meantime, South Korean airlines are concerned about pilot outflow to various regions such as the Middle East as well as China. The number of pilots who left Korean Air was 121 in 2015 and 110 last year. During the same period, that of those who left Asiana Airlines increased from 11 to 19.